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TMCNet:  Analysis: China's smart city plan to boost regional economic upgrading

[December 20, 2012]

Analysis: China's smart city plan to boost regional economic upgrading

BEIJING, Dec 20, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- China's latest pilot program for establishing smart cities nationwide is expected to not only boost the development of emerging industries including the Internet of Things and cloud-computing, but also open a window for economic transforming and upgrading across the country.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on December 10 announced plans to roll out the smart city as part of China's efforts to boost urbanization. Local housing authorities need to draft their own schemes for central government review and file their applications for the pilot programs before the end of this year.

The smart city is a new development model by using new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, cloud-computing, artificial intelligence, to boost the information sharing and coordination within a city system.

According to a just-closed summit forum held in Shanghai, next-generation information technology, as one of the seven strategic emerging industries China outlined earlier, has provided the foundations for a boom in smart cities over the years.

As of September, 2012, a total of 22 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wuhan, and Xiamen, have set the clear aim of "getting smart" soon.

CCID Consulting says China is at the stage of pushing the smart-city project along, instead of merely theorizing about the concept.

The construction of smart cities will expand at a rapid pace amid government calls for action. The Internet of Things, cloud-computing, green buildings, and other information and communication technology sectors are expected to grab a big slice of the market.

Cao Guohui, chief strategy officer of China Security and Surveillance Technology Inc., says "The Internet of Things is a strong technology base for extending the smart city concept nationwide, and the smart city in turn is the application of the Internet of Things". The Internet of Things will surely improve living standards and urban management.

Jiang Defeng, a smart-city specialist, says China's investment in smart city projects is likely to exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2015.

Smart city construction takes advantage of advanced information technologies, especially the Internet of Things, to provide fast and effective information services in traffic management, healthcare, and environmental protection.

Amid the flourishing of next-generation technologies, the more important part of building smart cities is that local governments can seize the opportunity to accelerate economic transforming and upgrading.

Zhu Min, CEO of Cybernaut (China) Investment, says Chinese smart cities need to not only emulate successful projects overseas, but also visualize the concept with upgrading of traditional manufacturing industry and transforming of business model.

Experts note that for now, most major cities in China are focusing on improving infrastructure for smart-cities programs, and developing regional intelligent e-commerce and logistics, while other cities are stepping up efforts to improve the management of local utilities.

Chinese cities should facilitate the development of smart grid, smart transportation systems, smart medical treatment, and smart logistics, and at the same time encourage information technology to better support the manufacturing sectors. (Edited by Ding Lei, dinglei@xinhua.org)

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