Why one expert isn’t optimistic about China’s new smart city

The location of the new smart city is not a favorite among private investors

New York Weekend Edition /
Nov.November 19, 2017 11:20 AM

(Photo credit: whiz-ka/Flickr)

Smart cities are all the rage; everyone wants one, but can they truly sustain one? One Chinese researcher says no.

Xiongan was envisioned in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a smart city with high tech amenities and an economy that would run off green technologies instead of its historic industry. But an expert affiliated with the state planner recently stepped forward to cast doubt on the vision for Xiogan unless free market reforms take place, according to the South China Morning Post.

The expert researcher, Qiao Runling, said the government’s current controls would deter major companies from setting up shop.

“The conditions there for private sector development are much worse than those in the Yangtze River Delta,” said Qiao at a forum last week. “How can Xiongan start to boom from this kind of soil? There has to be a big question mark.”

The Yangtze River Delta’s province is known for having a plethora of small businesses, while Xiogan’s location in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, where less than 50 of the country’s major private companies are based, has the opposite reputation.

Qiao is a relatively lone voice questioning whether growth is possible in areas known for having weak private sectors.

[SCMP] — E.K. Hudson


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