Smart cities are booming in Asia as urbanization is moving at the same pace there. 21 megacities already account for 9% of the world urban population; 97% of the fastest growing cities are in growth markets, 8 in China, 11 in India. The China’s urban population has expanded rapidly in recent years. McKinsey estimated in a report in 2009 that an additional 350 million people, more than the population of the U.S., would move to the cities by 2015. More than 220 Chinese cities will have more than one million people (there are currently only 35 in Europe). This help to explain why in China, as many as 18 cities (according to a Lux Research report) have announced smart city plans. These include some of the biggest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and a number of small to medium-size cities, such as Ningbo, Wuxi, Chengdu, Wuhan, Kunming, Foshan, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
Ningbo is a seaport city in Zhejiang province, not too far from Shanghai since 2008, when a 33 km cross-sea bridge was built, allowing travel to Shanghai in less than two hours, with a population of 7.6 million inhabitants. Last year Ningbo released its action plan for developing as a Smart City (2011-2015) and soon it will held the “China Smart City Technology & Applications Expo”. According to the smart city plan, RMB 40.7 billion will be invested in projects in the next 5 years (12th Five-Year Plan period). The plan address Five “Speed Ups”: Speed up construction of international strong port, building a modern metropolis, industrial restructuring, building a Smart City, construction of ecological civilization and improvement of life quality. There are 87 individual projects covering logistics, manufacturing, public services, energy, social administration, traffic, healthcare, residential site management, and entertainment services. For example IBM Smart Logistics Center, Ningbo Branch Corporation of Tata of India, BT Cloud Computing Center, Shuguang Cloud Computing Center have come to settle in. Recently 100 companies and research institutes in Ningbo have formed a huge industrial chain of Internet of Things. The IoT is to generate an output value of RMB 5000 billion in coming 10 years. Currently, the Ningbo companies of IoT are mainly engaged in application solutions, sensors, transmission and telecom, computing, etc. Last year, they generated income of 10 billion yuan (excluding those from operators). With the progress of the Smart City construction, a number of application demo projects featuring the IOT technology are being undertaken, such as smart logistics and smart health care. With regard to infrastructure, the city has had a high-speed intranet and internet that covers all the urban areas, with the outlet bandwidth of 580 G. There are 10.55 million mobile phone subscribers, 840,000 3G subscribers. 1.77 million households have had internet access. With the progress of the Wireless Ningbo project, the 3G-based wireless wideband network has reached every corner of the city. A new-generation wireless network with TD-LTE as the core is to be built soon. Also Smart Grid is part of the effort: during the 12th “Five-year Plan” period, Ningbo will invest 16.5 billion into the construction of the power grid. In fact the electricity consumption in Ningbo will maintain a relatively rapid growth, with an expected average annual growth rate of 9.8% in its maximum load and 9.0% in its power supply volume in 2015. Ningbo power grid will develop photovoltaic power and wind power projects, adding an energy capacity of 100Mw. It will strive to achieve a 10% coverage of clean energy including natural gas, wind power, solar energy and biomass energy, thus furthering optimizing the proportion of energy supply. Ningbo will speed up also the construction of rechargeable power stations, three of medium-size and 60 rechargeable piles in the first phase. An official from Ningbo Power Bureau stated that “The average time of power failure will be drop down, from current 45 minutes down to 5 minutes or so. Power failure notification and pre-control can be accurate to every household. People can make reasonable electricity plans, control home appliances, watch TV through power line and so on, all with the help of smart interactive system.”
“China Smart City Technology & Applications Expo” will open from September 2 to 4 in Ningbo, it is China’s first and largest expo on the subject of smart city, and it will consist of the exhibitions and forums. The 21,000 m2 exhibition area has been fully booked by over 300 companies. Information from the organizing committee shows that 70% of the exhibiting companies are engaged in IT business, including 12 world top 500 companies, such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, NEC, HUAWEI, SIEMENS, etc, 4.4 billion purchasing funds by government. It is estimated that the fair is to attract 35000 visitors, including 10,000 professionals and 25000 common people.
The official government site states: “The city has made great progress in major projects for smart city construction. A meeting held on July 8th 2011 stated that the schemes for three pilot programs have been completed, which are about smart logistics, smart health care and smart social management. Some breakthroughs have been made and a large number of major projects have been settled so far; a number of other programs have been started, such as smart transport, smart Chengguan, smart manufacturing, trade, energy use, home services, etc.”