Government policy is the key in the smart city development process

Smart Cities are developing as a noteworthy momentum in China. As per a recent report from CoreNet Global, China’s urban population has exceeded that of the rural population in 2011, and it is expected that more than 70 percent of the population will live in urban areas by 2035. That urbanization is exerting pressure for China to lay importance on digital innovation to make more intelligent urban communities.

In the beginning, there were a few “beachhead” cities that grasped Smart City initiatives, for example, Hangzhou. Later, the China central government has also made development of smart city technology and projects a key national policy, they would like to create smart cities in a widespread and systematic way, and thus now it is difficult to find a Chinese city of any size that does not have aspirations to be “smart.”

Here I found the policy and push from Government side is extremely important in the smart city development process. Admittedly, smart city requires hardware. Internet technologies unlock a city’s potential to tackle urban issues in ways probably defined as impossible in the past. However, I believe mart city needs more than hardware. Software such as government policy is the key.

As mentioned as a primary example above, Hangzhou’s Integrated Smart Citizen Card is an excellent result from push and policy from government side. Currently, the all-in-one smart citizen card not only covers social security, healthcare, public transportation and access to public facilities, but also lists social benefits available to cardholders based on the personal information stored in the citizen card. This smart citizen card has made Hangzhou much more alive, efficient and convenient. Although the imported technology is essential, the Chinese policy push from local government is significant.

The research, “Big Data in China’s Smart City Development” explains that Smart cities have grown vigorously in China because of the government’s policy support and their potential to alleviate pressing problems encountered by China due to its rapid economic and urban development, including a declining labour force, ongoing urbanization, and overuse of natural resources. The report states that with the completion of infrastructure and platforms in 2016, big data that span across different devices and industries will provide even greater opportunity for Chinese smart cities.

“China Central Government is very supportive of the smart city initiative,” said Emily Kong, the managing director of Cisco Services in Asia Pacific, Japan and China. “The smart city initiative is high on the national agenda with government funding support and financial backing by China Development Bank.”

With the key policy’s support, we could see China is moving onto the high-tech super highway with ambitious plans to develop a fleet of smart cities. In this new era, nevertheless the opportunities that Internet of Thing and smart city may bring in the future, a forward-looking policy from government side is essential for cities’ successful transition.