NANJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The agreement between China and Singapore to upgrade bilateral ties and cooperation has provided institutional support for both sides to explore smart city construction in a co-developed Suzhou industrial park, analysts say.
According to the memorandum of understanding signed at the 10th China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting on Tuesday in Singapore, IE Singapore, the trade promotion agency of Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee will choose suitable districts in Singapore and Suzhou Industrial Park for a pilot smart city project.
Under this initiative, Suzhou Industrial Park, the flagship Sino-Singapore cooperation project launched 19 years ago, will share the experiences of Singapore in developing smart cities.
A concept originally invented by IBM, "smart city" refers to cities of the future where computing technology will be used to improve efficiency of infrastructure and public services.
After launching a plan in 2006 to transform itself into a "smart" nation by 2015, Singapore has achieved cutting edge development of information technologies.
Many of the country's traditional sectors, such as hospitality, tourism, healthcare, education and logistics, have been transformed by information technology.
By contrast, China didn't officially start construction of smart cities until late last year. So far, there have been 193 test sites in China for smart city construction, including the Suzhou Industrial Park.
Zhang Dongchi, chief of the Science and Technology Development Bureau of the Administrative Committee of the Suzhou Industrial Park, said that the agreement will enable China to better learn from Singapore's experiences.
The agreement would allow the park to borrow from the first-hand experiences of a twin site in Singapore to propel the local experiment, he said.
Zhang said the park had borrowed from the experiences of Singapore in making its own smart city layout. It had also followed the example of Singapore and established a geographic information database, which will help local authorities make best use of land resources.
"We have been very impressed by Singapore's innovations, especially the Singaporean government's commitment to supporting corporate research and development," said Zhang.
After years of cooperation with Singapore, Zhang said China has realized that to facilitate technical innovation and industrialization of new technologies, the government must create a favorable market environment and protect intellectual property to attract more venture capital firms and people with expertise.
Because the core technologies for building smart cities involve massive data collection and data processing, Zhang expected the enthusiasm for smart city construction would inspire more companies to invest in development and use of software.
He said the park's management committee will fully respect the market, encourage corporate research and development within the complex and procure software that is tailor-made to improve public services.
Li Changyuan, chief of the Information Department of the Science and Development Bureau of the Park's management committee, said that cloud computing technology is particularly important for effective management of smart cities, which requires the processing of a large volume of real-time data from diverse public and private sources.
Last November, the park released a plan to attract more than 50 competitive cloud computing enterprises whose aggregate output would exceed 20 billion yuan (3.17 billion U.S. dollars).
If the plan were well implemented, local cloud computing businesses might indirectly generate a total output of 100 billion yuan from creative businesses, integrated communications, and culture and education sectors, said Li.
James Tong, Vice Chairman of the Jiangsu Province Services Outsourcing Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said that the cooperation will open up more opportunities for Singaporean companies hoping to invest in China.
Seow Ngow Liew, executive deputy director of the Suzhou Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, said he was fully confident in the future of the park, as it has been business-friendly, transparent and efficient.
Although the national conditions of the countries vary, by jointly building the Suzhou Industrial Park, China and Singapore can share their experiences in government-to-government cooperation, he said.
At the 15th China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council Meeting, which opened on Tuesday, delegates from both sides said they would offer support for the park to export its development experience and invest in other Chinese provinces or even third countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.