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Report says 'smart city' construction faces risks

By Richard Fu (Shanghai Daily)

08:57, December 05, 2012

THE construction of "smart cities" in China is facing challenges and risks as more mainland cities join the go-intelligent bandwagon, a report suggests.

The report cited blind expansion and limited funding channels as among the challenges.

Nearly half of China's 47 major cities or regions have officially included a smart city blueprint into their strategic development plan to improve urban competitiveness. The plan calls for embracing innovations in information and communication technologies.

But some Chinese cities are too impatient in their smart city ambition and don't have an overall, long-term plan and lack sufficient coordination. That could result in redundant construction and insufficient use of information resources, according to a report by Xinhua news agency unveiled yesterday.

"Chinese cities should avoid simply pursuing a big scale while building smart cities," Wu Hequan, former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said in the report. "The purpose is not to change the face of a city but to make life better for its people."

Funding for the construction of smart cities is also limited, with government being the main source, as the private sector has concerns about investment returns and risks.

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