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Smart city status will fix HCMC’s woes: official

Update: October, 26/2017 - 08:40
A corner of HCM City at night. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hiếu
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – HCM City would be able to cope with the many challenges caused by the rapid increase in its migrant population when becoming a smart city, a conference heard yesterday.

The International Smart City Conference in HCM City, attended by 500 delegates, including 50 from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, and Thailand, was meant to draw lessons from other smart cities in the Asia-Pacific region.

It was also an occasion for IT companies to showcase their technology solutions for business development and public administration.

HCM City Party Secretary Nguyễn Thiện Nhân listed some of the major challenges the city is facing like failure to improve its competitiveness in recent years, gap between infrastructure and population growth, and failure to boost and take full advantage of regional co-operation.

Taking cognisance of these challenges, “in 2016 the city administration decided becoming a smart city is one of the best solutions for effective urban development”, he said.

He said there are five main goals behind the push to become a smart city: make economic growth more sustainable, improve the living and working conditions of its people, engage citizens in city management, improve public services, and ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

The administration, businesses, citizens and social organisations need to act smarter for developing smart city, he said.

HCM City Party Secretary Nguyễn Thiện Nhân (middle) visits a booth at the 2017 international smart city conference held in HCM City yesterday.—VNS Photo Hoàng Nguyên

Nhân said there are key factors that enable conversion into a smart city, the first being the administration’s ability to anticipate threats and suggest solutions for economic and social development. This is one of the city’s weaknesses at the moment, he said candidly.

The others are building a shared database for all organisations, businesses and citizens; developing the IT infrastructure; and citizens’inclusion in assessing development progress, he said.

David Wong, chairman of the Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation, said the digital era encourages the building of smart cities, but there are three key challenges not only in Việt Nam but everywhere.

The first is digital infrastructure development both in urban and rural areas.

“This is particularly not easy for a city like HCM City with a population of more than 10 million.”

The second challenge is human resources, but Việt Nam has an advantage since it has so many people, workers and talents, something many countries lack, he said.

The third is cyber security, which has become a threat.

The conference heard many more suggestions for building smart cities from local and international participants, like the need to build a standard framework, evaluating the smart city based on smart city index, ICT platforms for smart cities and e-governance.

This is the second international conference on smart cities held in Việt Nam after a first held in Hà Nội two years ago.

Wong said due to the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors and the need for sharing ideas and expertise between countries in the region to realise the transformation into smart cities, the conference would be held in a different country each year.

Next year it would be held in Japan, he added. – VNS


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