CHENGDU, July 14 (Xinhua) -- IBM and its Chinese partner will launch a base in southwest China's Sichuan Province to research and develop "smart cities," futuristic urban centers where computing technology will improve infrastructure and public services, they announced on Sunday.
The joint project with Chinese firm Sichuan Huaxun Zhongxing Technologies Co. Ltd follows their announcement on May 18 that they will build a service center dedicated to the big data and cloud computing that is necessary for smart cities.
Their Global Smart Cities R&D Center, a supporting industrial park and other accompanying projects will involve a total investment of 30 billion yuan (4.88 billion U.S. dollars).
Sunday also saw Huaxun Zhongxing Technologies join the OpenPOWER Foundation, at the invitation of IBM. The foundation was formed last August by IBM, Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox and TYAN and is dedicated to building customized servers.
The Sichuan company will build China's first OpenPOWER high-end server production line. The first server is expected to roll off the line by the end of this year.
"Cooperation with IBM will have an immense impact on the construction of smart cities in the world and fast-track the R&D level of high-end servers in China by 10 to 20 years," said He Wenjun, chairman of Huaxun Zhongxing Technologies.
The smart city concept was invented by IBM.
In 2012, China selected over 130 cities as pilot sites for a smart city program that will explore ways to foster a new type of urbanization.