JianPing Li, Secretary General of ZhongCheng Smart City Construction Research Society (left), and Council Chairman Jesse Berst signed an MOU during a Smart Cities Week policy breakfast.
The Smart Cities Council signed an official Memorandum of Understanding with the Zhong Cheng Smart City Construction Research Society (SCCRS.) SCCRS is a non-profit organization tasked by the Chinese government with finding a solution to the national challenge of smart cities developments. The MOU was signed Sept. 17 during Smart Cities Week in Washington, D.C. JianPing Li, Secretary General, signed on behalf of Zong Cheng Smart City Construction Society. Chairman Jesse Berst signed on behalf of the Council.
You Liang Ding, Chairman of Zhong Cheng Smart City Construction Society, provided a keynote address about smart city developments in China during the event.
Dramatic economic shifts
To underscore China’s dramatic economic shifts of the last few decades, Patrick Santillo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for China, compared workforce alignment in 1990 to present day. Just 25 years ago, he told attendees at the Council’s Smart Cities Week® Keynote Policy Breakfast where the MOU was signed, 30% of the Chinese population worked in agriculture, 30% in services and 40% in industry.
Today, Santillo said, those figures are 9% agriculture, 43% industry and 48% services – reflecting the explosive surge of people moving to urban centers and the pressure on cities to accommodate their needs. In 2014, he said there were at least 142 cities in China with a population of one million or more.
The Commerce official emphasized the enormous opportunity for collaboration between the United States and China to help the country meet its urban challenges – which Ding outlined during the breakfast.
Huge market opportunities
As Ding explained, there are some 277 pilot smart city and another 49 demonstration projects underway in China, representing huge market opportunities. Ding said he sees opportunities for China to work with the Council and its partners in a number of ways, including:
- Attracting more foreign capital
- Promoting economic development to make Chinese cities more sustainable
- Improving capabilities in top-level design
- Fostering effective city management
- Grooming the talent necessary to develop and manage smart cities
- Incorporating standards and an integrated approach to smart city development
Council Chairman Berst, who traveled to Beijing earlier this year to meet with Chinese leaders at the government’s first Smart City International Expo, said the MOU is another exciting milestone in the Council’s expansion globally.
“Today we are signing this MOU to continue our cooperation,” Berst said, “and I hope soon to begin some on-the-ground projects in China.”
Li said he was pleased to see such a gathering of smart city expertise from all over the world and described it as a “great honor” to sign the MOU with the Council.
The Keynote Policy Breakfast was hosted by Council Lead Partner Qualcomm.