Cities are to become smarter in a digital era

Cities will cooperate, while also compete to become smarter in an increasingly digitalized world, participants said during the Global City Informatization Forum held in Shanghai.

Cities will cooperate, while also compete -- to become smarter in an increasingly digitalized world, participants said during the Global City Informatization Forum held in Shanghai, which is part of the ongoing China International Industry Fair.

“We have seen Liverpool get a revival with the help of digitalization,” said Gary Millar, vice mayor of Liverpool, a city in the UK with a history of trading dating back to 200 years ago. “Among a lot of participants of that revival, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd has done a great deal to help us become smarter.”

That is one example of cooperation, while shared economy can serve as another for competition.

Millar said Liverpool now had around 1,000 shared bikes, which appeared in his city as early as six years ago. In sharp contrast, Shanghai is home to more than 300,000 shared bikes, although the idea got popular only last year.

Wang Zhen, vice president of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said digitalization is key to measure the success of a city in the future.

“We have to learn from others, albeit in some parts, we are already the leader,” Wang said, noting areas such as fintech, where the practice of Shanghai has amazed the other global cities.

To strengthen competitiveness, Wang said Shanghai should optimize its policies and update education to meet the ever-advancing demand.

On the other side, Chng Qing Wei, an official from Singapore IMDA that governs media development, urged cities to share more on how to deal with the challenges coming with digitalization, especially in policy-making of how to enhance data security and protect individual privacy. 



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