Home / China / Innovation

Alipay lets organ donors register online

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-23 07:32

Alipay lets organ donors register online

View of a logo of Alipay, the mobile payment service of Alibaba Group, in a hotel in Nantong city, East China's Jiangsu province, May 21, 2016. [Photo/IC]

Some 300,000 people wait for transplants of lifesaving organs each year-organs that are in short supply. It is a number that Alipay hopes to lower through its vast network of 450 million users in this country.

In partnership with China Organ Transplant Development Foundation, the mobile payment tool is a new way for people to register as potential donors.

Starting Thursday, Alipay users can search "organ donation registration" on the app's home page to access a registration form. The system was developed and is managed by the foundation, which is affiliated with the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

According to Alipay, its real-name registration system makes it possible to complete the whole process in less than 10 seconds.

"It is the traditional Chinese values of reciprocity and mutual affection that bolster the charitable cause of organ donation. Sometimes we just need a proper channel," said Huang Jiefu, former vice-minister of health, who heads the foundation.

"There's a real emotional reward for doing the right thing. We are dedicated to adopting philanthropic endeavors through leading technologies and open platforms," Alipay's parent company, Ant Financial Services Group, said in a statement.

A new report on organ donations showed that 83 percent of respondents to a survey in China said they were willing to become a donor, though fewer than 80,000 people are actually registered nationwide. The report was released by Alipay, the foundation and Xinhuanet, the website of Xinhua News Agency.

The cumbersome registration is a major hurdle, the study suggested. Until now, those wishing to sign up had to locate the office to register, then fill out as many as 14 pieces of personal information.

By combining voluntary registration with internet services, the collaboration is likely to exert a potentially profound effect on social mobilization, Huang noted.

Others expressed concern. Safety should never be compromised to convenience in the donation process, said Gao Min, an organ donation coordinator with the Shenzhen branch of the Red Cross Society of China.

"Here, we have strict procedures and supervision of our medical staff to make sure the donor is able to register properly. It certainly takes longer than 10 seconds, and it should, when someone has to collect so much important information," she said.

"Ten seconds seems like an exaggeration," said Andrea Foo, a student at Shanghai American School. "I am not sure if I would trust it, though. Letting a company handle my medical information is not something that's 100 percent safe."

China stopped using organs from executed prisoners on Jan 1, 2015, making voluntary donations the only legal source for transplants.

Shan Juan and Angela Ma contributed to this story.

Editor's picks