Chengyang District in Qingdao, a beautiful and very livable city on China’s east coast that has clear skies for 347 days per year, is at the forefront of the district’s Smart City construction. Though it is relatively small with an area of only 378 square kilometers and a resident population of 1 million, Chengyang’s economic development is impressive, largely because of its strong manufacturing industry; Smart City construction, which has become a major focus in recent years, is also a substantial contributor.
Largely owing to the success of its two main industries, Chengyang achieved a total output value of CNY 107.9 billion (about US$15 billion), a general public budget revenue of CNY 11.25 billion (about US$1.56 billion), and a per capita disposable income of CNY 51,594 (about US$7,228) in 2018 — ranking tenth, fourth, and seventh respectively among Shandong Province’s counties (cities and districts).
Chengyang’s manufacturing industry is largely focused on vehicle production. Over 60 percent of China’s high-speed railway trains and more than 25 percent of its urban rail and subway trains are manufactured here, including the Fuxing bullet trains. Meanwhile, production of a prototype of the maglev train with a maximum speed of 600 kilometers per hour has been completed here, and that model is expected to be put into commercial use in 2022.
Chengyang attributes its development impetus and achievements to science and technology. “A city not led by science and technology is a second-rate city at best, even if it has a good economy and a large scale,” said Wang Qingxian, a member of the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the Qingdao Municipal Party Committee.
A few years ago, Qingdao set three strategic targets: invigorate the city by holding the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao Summit, become a modern international metropolis, and play a critical role in Shandong’s opening up. To meet these targets, Qingdao launched 15 campaigns that had three main goals. One of those goals is to learn from and replicate the achievements of Shenzhen (which is regarded nationwide as a leading city in opening up and development). Another target is to make the city a new strategic pivot for deepening the opening up in the region north of the Yangtze River. Lastly, Qingdao aims to build a new platform for international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative — a program devised by China in 2013 to connect Asia to the rest of the world through regional integration, trade, and economic growth.
As an innovative and forward-thinking district, Chengyang has resolved to work with Huawei and capitalize on the strengths of Huawei Horizon Digital Platform — such as its data convergence capabilities, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based security, and support for application innovation. Together, the two parties will take the initiative in Smart City construction and contribute to the development of an open, modern, and dynamic Qingdao.
Becoming a Benchmark for Smart City Construction
While manufacturing remains its key industry, Smart City construction is critical to Chengyang’s development and its residents’ livelihood.
“We have created a fertile ground for the development of Smart Cities. We hope partners at home and abroad can join us to seize the opportunities in the smart era and build a new model of Smart Cities across the country,” said Wang Bo, Secretary of the Chengyang District Party Committee and Secretary of the Qingdao Rail Transport Industry Demonstration Zone Working Committee.
Huawei is helping Chengyang to make this dream a reality.
Huawei began its collaboration with Chengyang by undertaking an extensive research project to learn about the needs of local organizations and residents. Through face-to-face communication, a survey on service systems’ requirements, workshops, guidance from experts, and researching documents, Huawei gained a comprehensive understanding of Chengyang’s IT infrastructure, application systems, and data resources, collected the data sharing and application requirements of each organization, and identified the common needs, business difficulties, and decision-making pain points that residents, enterprises, and government agencies experienced.
A new type of Smart City must embody the people-centric development concept, that is, it must serve the people who live in it. With that aim in mind, Huawei conducted detailed and comprehensive research, developed the Overall Planning and Design of New Type of Smart Cities with Shenzhen Smart City Big Data Research Institute and Chengyang District, and proposed a three-phase plan:
- Phase 1 (2019): Lay the Foundation and Achieve Initial Results
Build infrastructure, develop applications that suit the district’s characteristics, and carry out key projects based on their importance.
- Phase 2 (2020): Show Highlights and Present Value
Focus on smart education, healthcare, and community, as well as comprehensive governance by following the overall architecture design and considering the district’s actual situation to meet urgent needs of government agencies, enterprises, and residents, and present the value of Smart City in people’s livelihood services, governance, and industry and economic development.
- Phase 3 (2021): Form a System and Set a Benchmark
Expand the area covered, build on the results achieved in Phase 1 and Phase 2, increase new construction, realize the Smart City construction vision, and help Chengyang become a benchmark for Smart Cities in China.
Building a Unified Infrastructure Support Platform
Chengyang District is now undertaking the Phase 1 tasks (“laying the foundation” is the priority at this stage). This entails integrating existing infrastructure and building a unified urban infrastructure support platform based on Chengyang’s business plan and Huawei Horizon Digital Platform to coordinate cloud computing; big data; a Geographic Information System (GIS); hybrid video; Internet of Things (IoT); and integrated communications, and enable each user to access them on demand.
Wang Bo summarizes the initiatives as “six ones”: one network for interconnection, one database for data aggregation, one map for data coordination, one screen to display the district’s security status, one cloud to serve the whole district, and one click for resource commanding and scheduling.
• One network for interconnection: Smart Chengyang’s entire network consists of three parts. The first is the core part that covers government affairs and security management. The second concerns various accesses, including providing unified Internet gateways to connect with the Qingdao eGovernment extranet; access to various government departments, offices, and bureaus; and video access. The third is the data platform network, which is divided into three parts based on the business it is focused on: governance data, industry data, and video cloud data.
• One database for data aggregation: Build the Smart Chengyang big data sharing and exchange platform and basic databases, such as the population database, to promote the open sharing of data resources, break the barriers of data sharing among various government departments within the district, open data interfaces to interconnect with upper-level platforms and databases, and improve data application.
• One map for data coordination: Use the GIS map to associate databases about time and space with the basic population, legal entities and macro-economy databases, and the public database of government affairs — to manage and release data.
• One screen to display the district’s security status: The video cloud platform integrates the intelligent cameras of government agencies at each level to support activities such as public security protection, city management, and anti-terrorism operations; effectively improve the efficiency of public security services; and safeguard the city. Instead of relying on manual detection, the platform analyzes the key information in the video, which lowers labor costs and improves efficiency.
• One cloud to serve the whole district: Two regions are divided based on service scenarios, including big data, GIS, Intelligent Operations Center (IOC), government affairs, and apps to provide cloud host and cloud hard disk services. Users can apply for cloud services as needed. Based on the operating status, the system allocates resources to achieve rapid service provision.
• One click for resource commanding and scheduling: Build a modern command system featuring efficient interaction and operation by integrating multiple service systems. The system integrates broadband/narrowband, wired/wireless voice, wired/wireless video, mobile video, and teleconferencing video, and supports the association of the GIS platform with the professional systems of various terminals to achieve visible, interactive, and effective resource commanding and scheduling.
As well as the six ones, the Overall Planning and Design of New Type of Smart Cities also defined eight tasks: building a unified portal for Smart Chengyang, developing an efficient online and offline government approval system, building a public government service platform, setting up a service hotline for citizens, creating smart applications, building smart communities, constructing smart campuses, and developing a refined government management system. These tasks will gradually be implemented in the second and third phases.
Promoting the Development of Smart Industries
As well as the high-level planning and design for a new type of Smart City, Chengyang also has a healthy ecosystem that is conducive to developing smart industries. Based on this development ecosystem and Huawei’s interconnected and intelligent evolution ecosystem, the two parties have cooperated to promote cross-industry convergence and achieved staged achievements.
- World-Leading Smart Agriculture
Starting with a saline-alkaline soil amelioration demonstration project, Chengyang District conducted in-depth cooperation with Huawei and the team led by Yuan Longping, a Chinese agriculturalist who is known as the “Father of China’s Hybrid Rice,” and established Huawei Global Innovation Center for Smart Agriculture, which is dedicated to creating a comprehensive farmland program.
During the project, Huawei’s Rotating and Acting CEOs, Guo Ping and Ken Hu, visited Chengyang and spoke highly of the district’s prospects. The implementation of the joint development plan for smart agriculture application solutions (represented by the Jiutian Chip and Houtu Cloud) promoted cooperation between Huawei and Chengyang as they focused on building a global agriculture technology platform and a smart agriculture ecosystem. The Houtu Cloud has been put into operation, and the State Department of Agriculture called it “the best agricultural cloud in China.” A prototype of the Jiutian Chip has been produced, and it was put into mass production in the fourth quarter of 2019.
In the future, Huawei and Chengyang will jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative and cooperate with SCO members to highlight China’s exports, such as its chips, its technologies, and its rice products; it will also present the ‘Chinese Dream’ to the world, and propel four new industries and markets worth hundreds of billions, including digital management of farmland, smart agriculture, integrated development, and international interconnection.
- The Smart Industry Ecosystem is Thriving
Relying on Huawei’s global influence and ecosystem of partners, Chengyang District and Huawei have built a smart industry eco-city in Chengyang, and planned for new momentum, facilities, and lifestyles to promote the development of both smart industries and the city as a whole. Indeed, Chengyang has become a hub for smart industries. The district has witnessed the development of big data industry projects, smart enterprise headquarters, and industry incubation platforms, and initiated a global smart ecosystem demonstration project. Ten enterprises, including Leador Spatial Information Technology Corporation and Beiming Software, have registered and established their branches here. Seven enterprises, including Shenzhen Audaque and Guangdong Intelligent Robotics Institute, have signed contracts with the district. NationSky also established its digital innovation center headquarters in Chengyang.
The district is committed to promoting the digital economy with AI and Smart City as its core, and aims to build two “unicorn enterprises” within five years.
- Accelerating 5G Industry and Applications Development
Chengyang District implements new development concepts and innovative development strategies, and will embrace the 5G and the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, and will focus on “industry, innovation, and application.” The district is also producing high-level 5G development plans. It will construct high-quality 5G infrastructure; build a 5G industry ecosystem; and create a 5G demonstration area, an industrial development cluster, and an innovation application demonstration area.
With the district’s help, Huawei capitalized on its position as a leading 5G provider and built the first 5G smart street light demonstration road, on Chengyang’s Great Wall South Road. The demonstration road is 1.9 kilometers long; it has a total of 105 smart street lights equipped with 21 LED displays, 20 Wi-Fi access points, and 10 cameras. With six functions — smart lighting; security monitoring; Wi-Fi access; displaying information using LEDs; USB charging; and providing a 5G interface — it has become a pioneer in Smart City construction and illuminates the future of Smart City development.
Chengyang District also cooperated with China Unicom’s Qingdao branch to build a 5G innovation building — the first indoor environment to deploy 5G in Shandong Province — and it will strive to build an influential 5G innovation industrial park in China.
Smart Chengyang: Future-Oriented and Intelligent Evolution
The purpose of Smart Cities is to implement the people-centered urban development concept, achieve more effective governance, scientific decision-making, and efficient public services, and improve the modernization level of governance systems and capabilities. This is a continuous and gradual process that cannot be accomplished overnight. The construction of Smart Cities will become more complex as technology develops, so decision-makers need to keep pace with the times.
Though Chengyang District has a comprehensive plan for the second and third phases of Smart City construction, this process is not fixed: It will evolve based on the development of ICT technologies, changes in business needs, and people’s aspirations for better lives. This process ties in with the concept of “intelligent evolution and platform adaptation,” which Huawei advocates for Smart City construction.
As Chengyang looks ahead to phases two and three of the Smart City plan, Wang Bo believes the district will provide efficient and high quality services, and support local enterprises to help them develop. By combining its own advantages with those of Huawei Horizon Digital Platform, Chengyang is set to evolve into a district that exemplifies the best practices of the new type of Smart Cities.