25 Aug 18

Chinese’ PATH shows the way for Smart Cities

PATH, the Chinese smart city initiative which was launched last week at the China Smart City International Expo 2018, will help 500 Chinese cities become Smart Cities.

The leading forces behind the smart city initiative PATH are China’s top tech firms Ping An (P), Alibaba (A), Tencent (T) and Huawei (H).

Joined Forces

The lighthouse is Ping An, one of the major financial groups in China, which presented its ‘1+N’ Smart City Integrated Platform, providing smart city’s solutions and strategies, based on its own knowledge. In the past ten years, the company has invested about $7.34 billion in technology research in the fields of intelligent cognition, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud technology and facial recognition. 

Each tech partner provides its own core business to strengthen Chinese cities in the global smart city evolution. Alibaba will add AliPay, its on-line and mobile payment platform, Tencent will provide communication connections, and Huawei will manufacture new smartphones and related hardware. 

Joined Cities

The tech leaders are planning to take PATH to all 500 Chinese cities that are already planning smart city developments. This evolution can turn China into the world’s largest smart city testing ground.

Even though the USA and EU have been working on smart cities for almost a decade, China’s approach is unique in its collaborative style, guided by the strengths of China’s top technology companies.  

One of the tests will be the deployment of 5G in Beijing and other cities by telecom operator China Unicom, who will provide 300 of the participating cities with an NB-IoT network. China is preparing itself to be at the frontline of the 5G evolution, taking smart cities and IoT to the next level. 

Smart China

Ping An is not the only Chinese actor with a decade of experience in IoT technology; Beijing has set up a national IoT centre in 2010, with the goal of creating an IoT market worth more than $160 billion by 2020, which might be useful in the heavily populated Chinese cities. 

At the moment over 500 Chinese cities are participating in smart city programmes; and total smart city investment for the next decade is expected to be about $300 billion, according to the 2014-2015 Smart City Industry Policy & Environment Programme of the Chinese government. 

Smart World?

Additionally, China’s smart cities’ evolution has global implications. McKinsey Global Institute expects China to become a global pioneer in the digitial economy, driven by a few private tech giants, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (‘Digital China: Powering the economy to Global Competitiveness (2017)’). 

China is one of the global leading investors in digital technology, especially big data, artificial intelligence and fintech. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent  invested 42% of the Chinese venture capital last year and concluded 35 foreign agreements. Typical examples of Chinese smart city companies abroad are bike sharing companies as Ofo and Mobike, or ride sharing company DIDI. 

Authored by: Fien Van den steen