Nine cities in mainland China plus the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau together make up a new cluster in Asia called the Greater Bay Area.
The area, which has a combined population of 68 million and GDP of US$ 1.4 trillion according to a KPMG report, is being eyed as a rival to the bay areas in San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo as a technology and innovation hub.
Recent developments such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the New Guangdong-Macau Link are expected to bring these cities closer together.
A recent survey of CEOs and consumers across the Greater Bay Area shows that consumers here have high expectations that technology will make the cities they live in smarter.
Nearly half of those polled (47 percent) say they expect to see smart environment initiatives in areas such as energy saving and sustainability.
A large portion (47 percent) of consumers also see the greater use of service robots – artificial intelligence (AI), smart sensors and internet of things (IoT) – as advancing the liveability of their cities.
KPMG polled 1,400 consumers across the ten cities in the GBA as well as 286 Hong Kong-based CEOs. The cities include Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Hong Kong.
In the nine cities polled in mainland China, consumers cited the greater use of sensors and AI (48 percent) and more environmentally friendly energy and systems (48 percent) as key drivers for smart city development. Consumers also identified smart transport, such as drones and autonomous vehicles (46 percent) as playing a key role in the development of their city.
“As we continue to see customer needs changing and digital platforms emerging, CEOs need to better understand the consumers across the GBA since they are more tech-savvy than ever before and are looking for better and more streamlined customer experience,” said Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer and Retail, ASPAC, KPMG China.
Meanwhile, Anna Lin, Chief Executive of GS1 Hong Kong, commented that “everything in the physical world has a digital twin.”
“Technology like IoT bridges the gap between ‘online’ and ‘offline,’ yet a common language is needed for different devices and systems to be able to communicate in an automated way and to understand data in the same way,” she said.
KPMG China and GS1 Hong Kong commissioned YouGov to conduct the surveys.