Claudio Murri, Asia Advisor to EIF, reports on major long term trends around the Asia Pacific region

04 October 2013 Author: Claudio Murri

September 2013

As China accelerates the pace of its urbanization, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation unveiled its Smart City program in mid-August.

It also selected the first nine pilot cities* out of a list of 103 cities, districts and towns that had previously been earmarked by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to be developed into smart cities this year. These first nine cities are expected to complete the plan within about three years. Every pilot city will invest more than 36 million yuan (€4.35 million) in the program each year. 

The Smart City program, which will gradually expand to the whole country, aims to create an innovation network, optimizing the use of technology in the design and operation of infrastructure and buildings in a way that meets the city's current and future demands. The Chinese government believes that the program can trigger a potential market of more than 30 billion yuan (€3.62 billion). A financing plan has been put into place to ensure cities have enough funds to complete their projects

Leading integrated smart city solutions providers in Mainland China are already preparing not only to bid for projects within this program, but to then export their solutions into Asia and the global market. Some are setting up their regional headquarters and R&D centre in Hong Kong, using the special administrative region, its universities and technology companies, as a smart city hub. 

* The nine cities are Taiyuan in Shanxi, Guangzhou in Guangdong, Xuzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu, Linyi and Zibo in Shandong, Zhengzhou in Henan, Chongqing, and Huhan in Hubei.

The Korea Internet Governance Alliance (KIGA) and the recently established Korean Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (MSIP) hosted the fourth Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) meeting in Seoul in September. The theme of the meeting was “Towards a Better Internet: A more Secured, Convenient, Vibrant, Equivalent, and Desirable Internet”. 

Today, Asia has the strongest growing demand for Internet addresses. That is more and more people in Asia are using the Internet. In contrast to North America and Europe, demand for the Internet in Asia is not only growing, but also growing at an accelerating rate. The APrIGF serves as a platform for discussion, exchange and collaboration at a regional level, and also where possible to aggregate national IGF discussions, ultimately advance the Internet governance development in the Asia Pacific region.

The main objective of the meeting was to raise awareness and encourage participation from relevant stakeholders around the region on Internet governance issues, as well as to foster multilateral, multi-stakeholder discussion about issues pertinent to the Internet in Asia. The multi-stakeholder approach is a core principle of the APrIGF with the emphasis on the diversity of participants and openness of the discussion. 

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