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Chinese Cities Feature Prominently In Global Top 50 Smart City Government Rankings

Seven Mainland China cities emerge among the top 50 smart city governments worldwide

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Seven Mainland China cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Chongqing – clinched spots in the second edition of the Top 50 Smart City Government rankings released by Eden Strategy Institute.

Four of these cities – Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou – are new entrants into the Top 50, signifying the rapid pace of urbanisation, technological growth, and smart city development within the country.

The Top 50 Smart City Government ranking focuses on the role of city governments in driving smart city development. The study aims to shed light on the importance of strategy, leadership, people-centricity, policies, ecosystem, incentives, and talent in determining the success and effectiveness of technologies deployed in smart cities, moving beyond evaluating the efficacy and outcomes of technological solutions applied by cities.

More than 230 cities were evaluated and examined by Eden, with city governments invited to submit supporting details, reports, and outcomes of their smart city strategies in a global-wide Call for Proposals during the study. Interviews were then conducted with smart city officials to validate facts and gather more in-depth insights about their unique challenges and pathways in smart city building. The information collected through extensive research by Eden, the Call for Proposals, and the interviews with smart city officials were then used to holistically assess cities.

“Top smart city governments in the 2020/2021 rankings were able to collaborate and partner with public and private sector stakeholders; use digital solutions and data to deliver services and make decisions; all while considering implications on inclusion and citizen trust”, says Mr. Calvin Chu Yee Ming, Managing Partner at Eden Strategy Institute.

The 2020/2021 edition also highlights a regional showcase of emerging smart cities which were not featured in the Top 50 rankings. “We also wanted to celebrate how other smart cities across the region excelled in a particular aspect, including their unique and creative efforts to launch smart city initiatives within their city, even though they were not part of the Top 50,” explains Mr. Chu.

One of the most distinct elements of Chinese governments’ smart city strategies is the large focus on talent development, with city governments expending significant efforts to attract and retain top talent within their cities to drive smart city innovation and to increase technological competitiveness.

Singapore emerged top in the rankings alongside Seoul, London, Barcelona, and Helsinki; cities which were not only advanced in terms of technologies adopted throughout the city, but in their government’s efforts to bring the city population along their digitalisation journey. Globally, eighteen new cities were welcomed into the Top 50 list, including cities such as Tallinn, Oslo, and Moscow.

Top 50 Smart City Government Rankings

The rankings this year also revealed several smart city trends and insights. An increasing number of cities have prioritised environmental sustainability in their agenda, recognising the importance and urgency of addressing the effects of climate change.

The full report, including detailed feature articles covering topics such as COVID-19, sustainability, data privacy, financing, and social inclusion; city as well as regional highlights; and detailed scores, is available for download on smartcitygovt.com

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