World Reports: How China is Developing Sustainable Smart Cities


Smart Cities Spotlight by Zia Askari |

China’s recent rapid urbanization is quite proactively been supported by a sustainable and innovative development of a number of smart cities. This is helping the nation enable technology led society.

iSoftStone is one of the organizations spearheading smart cities revolution. Carrying behind 15-year development legacy, the company is headquartered in Beijing, serving the global market.

Speaking at the recently held CommunicAsia 2017 in Singapore – Walter Fang, EVP, President of Corporate Marketing & Strategic Alliance iSoftStone Information Technology (Group) Co. said that China’s rapid growth towards urbainsation is well supported by smart city development and it has become a key economic driver for the country,” he explained.

“China’s urbanization has developed rapidly. From 1978 to 2015, the number of cities has increased from 193 to 653, and the urban population has increased from 170 million to 750 million. The scale of the city has changed greatly and the urban agglomeration has been gradually formed.

Among the three major urban agglomerations of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebe Region, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, 2.8% of the land area has a population of 18%, creating a GDP of 36%, which is the major platform for China’s rapid economic growth and international economic cooperation,” he explained.

China’s urbanization and America’s high-tech will be “the two great engines” of world economic development in the 21st century.

Smart City Objectives – Economy, Quality of Life, Governance

Sustainable Economic Growth

Optimize resources allocation and stimulate economic development.

Balanced development between human and nature, people and society.

Utilize natural resources wisely, reduce pollution and waste.

From City Governance to City Services

Meet people’s physical and cultural needs, achieve social harmony.

Achieve coordinated, high-efficient city operation management. 

Smart City Innovations – Wuxi City——Business Model & Market Mechanism

Encouraging next generation innovation – Wuxi City has set up smart city professional fund, and invests RMB 100 million per year in constructing smart city. The fund is raised leveraging market capital rather than drawn from the construction fund.

Acceleration of China’s Smart City’s Construction

39 “Broadband China” of Ministry of Industry and Development

286 smart city pilots of Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development

80 pilots for Information benefits of National Development and Reform Commission

There are obvious differences in the construction level of the smart cities, but the local governments have paid more and more attention to the exploration and practice of the smart cities.

“At present, the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the Circum-Bohai Sea Economic Zone have relatively high levels of exploration and practice of smart cities.

The exploration and practice of the smart city has entered the rapid promotion period from concept introduction period. A number of departments have proposed smart city pilots. A lot of governmental involvement and impetuous overheating characteristics are obvious,” he adds on.

China’s Smart City Snapshots

104 consumer pilots of MIIT

20 Ministries of Science and Technology and China standardization Administrations

Over 500 smart city related pilots

9 pilots of Bureau of Surveying and Mapping

26 smart pilots of Ministry of Transportation

18 smart tourism pilots of Tourism Bureau

“By the end of 2014, 500+ cities had announced own construction of smart city, as time passing by, the number will continue to increase. The overall construction of smart city has stepped into a fast-forward period from the concept introduction period,” he informed.

PPP – an Effective Approach to deal with Challenges for Smart City Projects

Neither construction nor income of smart cities can be accomplished at one stroke, and both require a long period. They need to be understood and maintained with participating enthusiasm from multiple stakeholders in the government as well as private sector side.

“They also need sound and efficient business model, and sufficient and reasonable fiscal support. Therefore, they will last for long time. The income of smart cities is embodied in the positive externality and scale economy, which are macro, profound and hard to quantify. Compared to the income from direct investment, it is more invisible and difficult for investors to notice. Therefore, profound knowledge and unconscious influence are required,” he explained.