The invitation to attend a TM Forum Conference on Smart Cities in Yinchuan inNingxia Hui Autonomous Region of China was not something I was going to skip. As an enthusiast and evangelist of Smart Cities across the world, I had heard about the $300 Billion that China had already spent on building these cities and putting all the infrastructure and technology. I was also told that these were ghost cities with hardly any people. I had read that the Chinese Government had invested all the money to keep people busy but most houses were empty and infrastructure was already showing signs of delay due to disuse. This was my chance to see this for real. It was also my chance to see a Smart City in action.
Yinchuan was one of these cities, redeveloped some 15-20 years back. With a population between 2 Million, this was one of the remote small cities to be redeveloped. It was the former capital of the Western Xia Empire of the Tanguts. Google maps showed the city below Mongolia – the wild-west frontiers of China – dominated by Muslim and Arab population. It was the beginning of the New Silk Route from China to the Arab world.
Through this BLOG, I will articulate my two days of extreme observation and contemplation about the situation there. I am an eternal optimist so please take my musings as a one sided observation. Yes – there is likely to be a sad, sorry, sordid, solemn side to this story as well. We will keep that for a different time. This is also not an article where I compare China to India. These are totally different places that do not even warrant a comparison – good or bad.
Read the rest on LinkedIn Pulse.