A group that monitors public finance issues has picked out the ten worst mobile phone applications offered by the government. Naming them “rubbish”, the group complained that the government commissioned the apps for no good reason.

The group Momentum 107 said that the government had spent $20 million to develop 70 apps in the past two years, but apps from eight government departments were expensive to develop, updated slowly, received very few downloads or had useless functions, reported Oriental Daily.

Convenor of the group Raymond Ho Man-kit said the apps were made for the sake of making them, and this was a waste of public funds.

Raymond Ho Man-kit, Convenor of Momentum 107.
Raymond Ho Man-kit, Convenor of Momentum 107. Photo: Facebook/Momentum 107.

iStartup@HK, an app for startup companies to connect to each other, only received ten downloads. It was commissioned by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO).

OGCIO told the newspaper that the app was still in its final testing phase, so it was not yet formally released to the public. However, the app was released on the Google play store on August 2.

The apps Smoky Vehicle Control Program and Plastic Shopping Bag Charging received 50 and 100 downloads.

The app iStartup@HK received ten downloads. Photo: HKFP.
The app iStartup@HK received ten downloads. Photo: HKFP.

WSD connect, an app by the Water Supplies Department, which cost $1.56 million for development, was the most expensive. But it only received 7,841 downloads and the group said it cannot show the water bills as easily as it should.

The group also said the functions of the app by the Fire Services Department were impractical for public use. “The app will ask for the user’s location and tell you where the nearest fire station is. But we call 999 when there’s a fire. Even if we go to the fire station, the firemen cannot help us immediately, and it leaks users’ locations.”

The app by the Hongkong Post was also criticised because it does not track mail correctly.

The other apps listed as “rubbish” were Hong Kong Flower Show, Government Vacancies, Hong Kong Public Libraries Multimedia Information and Business Consultation e-Platform.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.