Investments in Asian ‘smart cities’ are set to grow from about $55.6 billion in 2013 to around $260 billion in 2020, according to research from Zpryme.
The dramatic growth represents a huge opportunity for utilities and technology vendors and is prompting some of Asia’s electronics giants to put smart cities at the forefront of their strategies.
Japan’s Toshiba (Tokyo, Japan), for instance, has created a new business section reporting directly to the company president, and aims to generate revenues of about $10 billion from smart-city-related business activities in 2015 – more than double its sales figure in 2011.
Rival Hitachi (Tokyo, Japan), meanwhile, has announced a 2015 goal of $4 billion in smart-city revenues – twice what it made in this area in 2010.
The projections appear to exclude plans by Chinese authorities for a colossal investment of RMB2 trillion ($322 billion) in more than 600 cities across the country.
The State Information Center of China has reportedly announced that 154 cities have already proposed smart-city plans that will drive investments of RMB1.1 trillion.
According to a report in China Daily, however, some analysts doubt whether such investments are feasible and have instead called for a gradual expansion from pilot areas to other cities.
Among the most important smart-city projects already underway in China are the Tianjin Eco-City, a $473 million investment in a broad range of smart-grid technologies, and the $75 million Yangzhou Smart Grid Demonstration Project, in which General Electric (Fairfield, USA) plays an important implementation role.
In South Korea, the government and private investors are spending a total of $238.5 million on the Jeju Project, testing a variety of smart-grid solutions, while Japan’s Kashiwanoha Smart City Project plans an investment of $1.5 billion in area energy management systems, energy generation, energy savings and energy storage.
“Purported to be one of the most innovative smart-grid projects in the world” – according to Zpryme – Kashiwanoha will serve a total population of about 26,000 on its completion in 2030, giving inhabitants access to a range of smart-grid features, including mobile applications for monitoring and controlling the energy supply.