- Veröffentlicht: 18. Dezember 2019
It’s almost as if the community was dreamed up as part of a movie set. But the Suzhou Industrial Park is real and part of a cooperative effort with Singapore. It is a carefully planned area on 27 square miles that a quarter-century earlier had been farmland. Dozens of Fortune 500 companies have invested billions into hundreds of cutting-edge projects.
China is known as a developing country. But in reality, it is more developed than many western countries. The Suzhou Industrial Park is sustainable and high tech, which has attracted trailblazing companies ranging from Samsung to Siemens to Philips. Others from around the world have since followed and use it as a base from which to produce and to export their goods.
“When it comes to persuading the best brains on the planet to choose us, having a flexible and open-minded approach is crucial,” says Zhou Xudong, chairman of the industrial park. It has such high-value industries as information systems, nanotech and biopharmaceuticals, as well as artificial intelligence based on big data and cloud computing — the kind of things can make cities greener, and desirable.
In 2016, the industrial park produced $33.4 billion in total goods and services, or a 7.2% year-on-year growth rate. And it has drawn the best-and-brightest from MIT, Harvard and Oxford. Microsoft, Apple are also there, not to mention China’s biggest tech companies: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent.
China thinks that it can export the idea of a model community like Suzhou to other parts of the world. China, in fact, is home to about 500 of the roughly 1,000 smart cities that have been proposed, globally.
In November, this reporter toured of the industrial park with the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation. While it is an economic model, the park is also considered a smart region, or one that typically relies on internet and cloud technologies that gather data to advance such things as energy usage, traffic flow and health care.
The park “has historically been a famous magnet for multi-national corporations, especially those known for advanced manufacturing,” said Du Feng, deputy director of economic development for the model community. It is now “devoting its efforts to nurturing an ecosystem of tech focused start-ups at the forefront of new technologies and concepts.”
China has 1.4 billion people, with a middle class consisting of 400-600 million people. To create more upward mobility, the country is literally moving its people from rural regions that have limited opportunity to the job centers. That requires using high technology and specifically artificial intelligence, all part of the smart-cities approach. The Chinese government says that $74 billion has been invested in such smart technologies from both the public and private sectors.
Consider that cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have 15-to-20 million population. And that means a lot of traffic and pollution. China’s approach? The internet-of-things stores data and allows private industry to analyze traffic patterns and parking possibilities. At the same time, China is home to more electric vehicles than anyplace in the world.
The investment in smart technologies is paying off for China not just because it is drawing in top notch multi-national corporations but also because it is helping to clean up its cities. In fact, the World Health Organization says that urban growth internationally will rise from 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion in 2050. Smart cities that employ cloud-based technologies could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16% by 2020.
Shanghai, for example, uses highly-developed traffic controls. Vehicles know down to the second how long the green light will last while citizens waiting to cross the street are given the same information. At the same time, the city uses mobile applications developed by tech-giant Huawei to give it citizens information on traffic flow, parking spots and public transportation. The aim is to minimize congestion and to improve air quality.
Beijing, meantime, is following in the footsteps of Tokyo. The cities are largely cashless societies, meaning that a card or phone can be used to pay for everything from groceries to retail goods to subway rides. When millions of people are on the go each day, it speeds things along. In Beijing they use the Huawei Pay app.
“We see tremendous opportunities for China to raise its productivity and long-term economic growth through the use of artificial intelligence technologies,” says Mark Purdy, managing director of Accenture Research. It “can drive growth in China through intelligent automation of products and processes, augmenting the productivity and skills of workers, and spurring wider innovation in the economy.”
China has some of the most sophisticated cities in the world thanks to cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Together they have become magnets, drawing in Fortune 500 companies, a highly educated workforce and billions of dollars in foreign investment. It’s about creating clean and connected cities — the foundation for economic development. The Suzhou Industrial Park is living proof of that.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Ken Silverstein
Quelle/Source: Forbes, 11.12.2019