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More opportunity for foreign companies in China's smart cities plans?

Submitted by scc staff on December 17, 2014

A Worldcrunch report on the China Hi-Tech Fair held recently in Shenzen suggests there's been a shift – or rebalancing – in how China is managing the growth of its cities. It notes that foreign giants including Council Partners IBM, Microsoft, Cisco and Siemens, are lining up behind Chinese companies such as Huawei, ZTE, Shenzhou Digital as the government increases its focus on national information security at the same time it is encouraging domestic companies to provide the technology and solutions necessary for smart cities growth.

Image removed.Given the Edward Snowden effect, countries will certainly consider using local ITC solution providers for critical infrastructure, thus assuring data security and privacy (as Germany is also considering.) Yet, the long-term effect is to construct standard and solution silos that will increase the cost of the underlying technology.

The best solution is for countries to aggregate their requirements (and this is often done through international standards organizations) and build into the standards the security protections they need and expect. This assures a globally competitive market for those solutions and over time, reduces costs. This approach also allows solution providers to assure interoperability with legacy solutions, thus again reducing the costs to the customer. -- Philip Bane

The Worldcrunch story cites an IDC report that forecasts China will spend 2 trillion yuan ($163 billion) on smart city development over the coming decade. Noting that Chinese companies have proven to be technologically strong, the article suggests there are still many smart city solutions they have yet to master.

To gain an opportunity to participate in China's smart cities movement, Worldcrunch suggests foreign companies will have to gain the government's trust and find ways to collaborate with Chinese companies.

Business development mission to China
The United States Secretaries of Commerce and Energy will co-lead a business development mission to China from April 12-17, 2015.  This mission will promote U.S. clean technology products and services in the areas of green building/construction, energy efficiency, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and environmental technologies in support of a smart cities-smart growth theme.

Business development missions provide an opportunity for companies interested in exploring export opportunities overseas. Participating U.S. companies will meet with pre-screened potential partners, agents, distributors, representatives and licensees.  The agenda will also include meetings with high-level national and local government officials, networking opportunities, and country and industry briefings.

The application deadline for this mission is Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. Click to the China Mission 2015 website to learn more and to obtain application materials.

Telecom opportunity in Taiwan
To accelerate the development of telecom fourth-generation (4G) wireless services, the Taiwan authorities are announcing the Taipei “Smart City Application” project to attract telecom or information technology operators.  Interested companies can apply for subsidies with 4G applications in the following categories: safety/security, healthcare, retail, financial services, transportation, education and entertainment. Starting Jan. 2015, USD 170 million in funding will become available from the Taiwan authorities for this smart city project.

For more information about this opportunity, contact with CS Taiwan’s She will provide specific details on the funding application process.  Tentatively, the deadline for submitting proposals is the end of February 2015.


Philip Bane is Executive Director of the Smart Cities Council, leading our international efforts. He has worked globally, owning businesses in Russia and India and leading teams that delivered innovative, multi-million dollar data solutions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

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