Pilot projects in private sector

Under government-approved pilot projects, eight private companies have set up credit databases that compile a wide range of online, financial and legal information. One of the most popular is Sesame Credit, part of the giant Alibaba e-commerce company that runs the world's largest online shopping platform.

Millions of users with high scores have been able to rent cars and bicycles without leaving deposits, company officials say, and can avoid long lines at hospitals by paying fees after leaving with a few taps on a smartphone.

The Baihe online dating site encourages users to display their Sesame Credit scores to attract potential partners; 15 per cent of its users do so.

One woman, who works in advertising but declined to be named to protect her privacy, said she had used Baihe for more than two years. Looking for people who display good Sesame Credit scores helps her weed out scammers, she said.

"First I will look at his photo, then I will look at his profile," she said. "He has to use real-name authentication. But I will trust him and talk to him if he has Sesame Credit."

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Pilot projects in private sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe