Tencent seems to have taken a shine to Zhuhai. After signing a deal with the city’s Xiangzhou district back in May to build a cloud computing base, its cloud-computing subsidiary – surprise! – recently won a public tender to provide AI-powered cloud services to the district worth RMB75 million.
Tencent Cloud will provide full-stack public cloud services supported by AI technology, including machine learning, facial recognition, image recognition, voice recognition, natural language processing, optical character recognition and supporting infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud services.
The company will also set up various “platforms” for local innovators and entrepreneurs to “enhance their R&D skills”. This will involve the establishment of AI colleges and labs cofounded by Tencent and local universities.
Xiangzhou district is the political, financial and cultural center of Zhuhai, at the forefront of the city’s efforts to digitalize the local government, boost the AI industry, and create a smart city.
Guangzhou may have launched the country’s first 5G bus line back in May, but Shenzhen has not been far behind. It now has two routes running from the Lianhua Mountain Bus Terminal – No. 10 and No. 14 – offering a superfast 5G network to passengers on their daily commute through the city’s main business districts of Luohu and Futian. The lines are used by around 12,000 passengers per day on a fleet of 50 buses.
Download speeds inside the buses reach 1.5Gbps, allowing for movies to be downloaded in seconds. However, that is not the main attraction. The 10-meter compartments of these “smart buses” offer “immersive VR travel experiences” as well. With the help of exterior cameras, passengers can have aspects of scenery along the way projected onto the bus screens, with explanatory details included.
Needless to say, the buses also come equipped with onboard cameras running facial-recognition technology. This is being promoted by the bus company as an improvement on safety.
Shenzhen is a pretty smart city already. Its public transport fleet is electric. It has AI surveillance systems to catch jaywalkers and speeders. It is home to Tencent and Huawei Technologies, and hundreds of other leading technology companies. But, like the kid with the pushy parents who sits near the front of class, Shenzhen is always looking for ways to get smarter. Which is why the city government this week launched an initiative to drag some of its leading state-owned enterprises into the digital era.
The initiative is being run by the Smart Cities Science and Technology Development Group Co., Ltd. And yes, it is a state-owned enterprise, fully funded by the city’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
When it comes to urban mobility, most people think of ride-sharing, whether it be by cars, bikes or, increasingly, scooters. However, advances in electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology and 5G communication will soon see the skies alive with machines that can carry things and people.
Shenzhen’s Futian Station is buzzing – literally. The country’s biggest train station is the venue of a most fascinating exhibition at the moment: all sorts of 5G-enabled devices and services are being tested here. It’s called 5G Experience Week, and it’s focused on getting the city’s tech-crazy citizens ready for the launch of commercial 5G services next month.
Guangdong is ahead of the rest of the country in rolling out 5G base stations, and the lead is widening, apparently. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, the province has built more than 14,200 5G base stations so far, of which 90% are in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, each of which have roughly the same number (7,100).
That is for starters. The provincial government released a plan earlier this month that aims to build 60,000 5G base stations by the end of next year and 170,000 by the end of 2022. This would put it ahead of the rest of the country, though the report did not specify by how much. (That is not the Guangdong way.)
Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been pilot cities for 5G rollout since last year. They are not only focused on building base stations, however. The two cities are developing multiple scenarios of 5G implementation, especially with applications such as unmanned vehicles, “smart city” traffic management, and 4K high-definition video, which will be used across many industries.
It is useless to resist: Shenzhen has released a five-year plan to develop the next generation of artificial intelligence. In the process, the 40-year-old city will position itself as a hub of innovation in AI and will establish 10 targeted industrial clusters with a total value of RMB30 billion by 2023.
According to local media, Shenzhen plans to develop an “all-rounded AI innovation system”. It will focus on six areas: frontline basic research, smart products, technology implementation, infrastructure, talent management, risk management, and legislation.
But this is not being done for selfish reasons. It is to “support the Greater Bay Area to become the center of technology innovation and the pilot of AI implementation”. Along the way, Shenzhen will build a Greater Bay Area AI Open Innovation platform and become a “smart city” by applying AI technology from industrial fields like manufacturing and business to “fields of everyday life” like healthcare, education, and merchandising.
The government will also strengthen its legislative foundations for the industry and build a robust regulatory system to “protect data safety and personal privacy”.
Hengqin has launched an Intelligent Computing Center in cooperation with Beijing’s Cambricon Technologies, incubated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The new facility will provide advanced artificial intelligence solutions to “address urbanization challenges,” according to China Daily.
Hengqin has accelerated the building of an integrated communications infrastructure, following the Greater Bay Area masterplan. It includes a 100% fiber-optic backbone, free WiFi network, and big data-based cloud computing center that supports all public information systems.