SINGAPORE (Dec 3): Ten years ago, I visited the Qianhai special development zone in Shenzhen. Then it was tidal mudflats, heavy earth-moving machinery, ramps of dirt, massive earthworks and a dream. Over the past decade, construction progressed as many in Hong Kong sneered at its apparent lack of purpose, but that simply ignored evolution into a smart city focused on innovation.
I visited Qianhai again this week after speaking at the APEC SME Summit. It is a modern, thriving, well-developed, high-tech ecocity that challenges the best developments in the world. When we look to cities of the future, this is what they will look like.
I had an opportunity to have a closer look at the product development of the world’s hottest artificial intelligence (AI) company, SenseTime. It is a true unicorn company, having raised total financing of more than US$1.6 billion ($2.2 billion), and is valued at over US$4.5 billion. It is entrusted by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China with establishing the National Open Innovation Platform for Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence on Intelligent Vision. I was introduced to what it calls a surveillance city. This is its most infamous service and includes instant facial recognition and analysis, real-time crowd analysis and behavioural analysis. It moves CCTV into the 21st century.