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Governments and technology firms all over the world are aggressively  pursuing initiatives and projects that will transform their respective cities  in an attempt to make them ‘smarter’. However, a Chinese investment firm is set  to change the ‘smart city’ landscape once again with its announcement that it  plans to develop a new ‘smart city’ in Africa.

Shanghai Zendai aims to create a commercial hub in South Africa that  would rival the world’s biggest cities such as London, New York, Paris and Hong  Kong. It has been disclosed that the investment firm has acquired 1,600  hectares of a land in an area which is located in close proximity to that of  the business district of Sandton in Johannesburg, which is also close to the  city’s international airport.

  The new ‘smart city’ will be a commercial district that will be home to  30,000 to 50,000 housing units that can be utilized for a series of different  enterprise purposes. It has been suggested that the Shanghai-based investment  firm plans to have shopping facilities, educational, sporting and educational  facilities as well as a theme park incorporated in the new ‘smart city’ in  South Africa.

  Analysts have claimed that the creation of this new commercial hub will  assist other Chinese firms in investing in South Africa. Shanghai Zendai is  confident it can take advantage of smart technologies and be a frontrunner in  terms of developing and constructing ‘smart cities’. The purpose of smart cities  is to incorporate technology to functions like administering and improving city  services.

  CEO of Shanghai Zendai in the African region said they aimed to  take advantage of revolutionary technology that can rescue congestion,  pollution and energy consumption. In addition to this, the CEO claimed his  company’s primary objective was to create a smart city that is using more than  world-class information and information technology.

  Hong Kong-based conglomerate PCCW Global will provide the technology  required for the project. The timeline estimated for the project is 15-20  years, and it has been reported that the firm plans to invest around $7.2  billion into the program in an attempt to accelerate the commencement of the  construction project.

  When Shanghai Zendai purchased the land area in 2013 from AECI for  R1.06 billion, it represented the single largest direct investment in South  Africa. The AECI has expressed its hope that the investment by the Chinese firm  will lead to multiple job creation - and economic prosperity.

China has been a big  infrastructure developer in Africa—South Africa especially. The smart city  project is a big statement from Chinese businesses that they are committed to  developing the region further and will help them test technologies they can  continue using in the domestic property market.