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Qingdao sells vehicle licenses on Taobao

By Wang Fei (Global Times)

08:19, May 31, 2013

The vehicle management administration of Qingdao, Shandong Province, has become China's first government department to set up a store on the e-commerce platform

The store, which opened to business on a trial basis on Tuesday, had seen some 50 deals made as of Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, five buyers also graded the service after receiving the goods by giving it a five-star rating, the top score.

Local drivers can use the store to replace lost driving licenses and license plates and annual license renewal verifications without having to go in person.

"Our administration opened a Sina Weibo account last year, and soon attracted 80,000 followers, most of whom are online shoppers," Chen Lei, chief of the agency's secretariat division, told the Global Times, adding that many Web users are seeking more flexible ways, for example, online, to apply for new licenses.

Chen also said the range of its online business may be expanded.

Buyers who apply for a missing driving license have to fill in a form, take a photo of their ID card, car and themselves holding the ID card, then send all those files to the administration's staff via the platform's online chat application, and pay the money.

After verification, the administration will make the license and deliver it back through a courier company.

"We will strictly review the files in order to protect the legal rights of Web users," said Chen, adding that all the charges are in accordance with the standard approved by the price-setting authorities.

However, this is not the first attempt by officials to get things done through an e-commerce platform.

In July last year, a local court in Zhejiang Province auctioned two cars seized through a lawsuit on Taobao, marking China's first judicial auction held on a third-party website without an agent, the Global Times reported earlier.

Also in Zhejiang, a residential property with home appliances was auctioned on Taobao by a court.

"We sincerely welcome and support government organs to open stores or provide services through us," Gu Jianbin, a press officer from Taobao, told the Global Times Thursday, adding that government offices are also under stringent supervision just as other sellers and customers who are not satisfied with their services can also make complaints.

Zhu Lijia, a public management professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, hailed such new attempts, saying that people will spend less time and enjoy more efficient services through these online services.

"However, we should also be cautious that such a move does not become a vanity project. Rules need to be laid down to regulate their operations," he added.

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