CNN just reported that Yinchuan is on a path to be the blueprint “smart city” for all the urban metropolises across China. The city has hosted TM Forum’s Smart City InFocus conference for two years.

Located in the north of China, Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia Hui province, has a population of 1.5 million people. It is home to the annual China-Arab States Expo, making the city appear to be one of the most Arab-friendly places in China.

China is focused on informatization, industrialization and urbanization, and Yinchuan is one of China’s 193 smart city pilot projects working towards these goals.  The city is already progressive, using facial recognition systems in buses, holograms at the City Hall and solar-powered waste bins among other programs.

Yinchuan a surprise choice

‘Many may be surprised that this city was selected, but there are clear reasons why Yinchuan is the more favorable “smart city” leader than Shanghai or Beijing.  A big part of it is its size.

The problem is these cities are already too big. A blank canvas like Yinchuan can more flexibly adopt new technologies, and then ‘attract people that would otherwise have gone to Beijing or Shanghai,’” explains Carl Piva, TM Forum’s vice president of strategic programs.

Piva says China is focused on creating a “repeatable pattern” that it can use to build and “roll out” a smart city.  He also says that the West doesn’t appear to have that same focus of “rolling out” the smart cities.