Kuang-Chi, the Chinese tech conglomerate, is viewing a variety of Israel’s smart city providers in an effort to bring their services to Chinese cities.
The corporate VC wants to partner with companies to provide distribution, sales, and marketing guidance, according to TechCrunch. It has invested $20 million into eyesight Technologies, through its GCI Fund & Incubator subsidiary, and we can expect plenty more small investments in the near future.
China is, in many ways, the perfect country for smart city development. It is going to see 250 million people move from farming to industry in the next 15 years. Issues like smog, dirty water, and lack of transportation could all be tackled through a smart city program, able to monitor and deliver guidance for city leaders.
“Israeli entrepreneurs tend to have very big ideas, but there are limitations in the local market; we can help these companies to take big leaps,” said the company’s founder Ruopeng Liu.
Israel has a well known tech hub, informally called Silicon Wadi, where most American companies do business. IBM, Google, Apple, Intel, and Microsoft all have operations in the country and spend a pretty penny purchasing the latest hot startup, like Waze, which Google snapped up for $1.1 billion in 2013.
Environment and safety are biggest concerns
“We emphasize two points: environment and safety. We know the severity of the problem in China and desperately need technology to monitor and track the real data of environmental change,” said Liu. “And the other part is safety, for example against natural disaster and disaster relief. 3.5% of Chinese GDP is lost because of disasters. Chinese cities are crowded and if something happens, many people will die.”
Smart city controls go beyond the usual in China’s case, services that can detect faults in the building structure or an AI able to take an overview of a city and find the hotspots where traffic jams could cause problems are incredibly useful, in the event of an accident.
At the same time, simple tools like monitoring smog levels and launching free city bikes might make a huge difference to some of the major cities pollution levels.