Binh Duong: Joint Efforts to Build Smart City

9:42:05 PM | 12/5/2018

In an effort to build the Binh Duong smart city, in 2017, Binh Duong province held the Smart City Conference 2017 attended by domestic and international scientists, policymakers, and businesses. At the gathering, Mr Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the Binh Duong Provincial People’s Committee, presented a keynote speech on “Socioeconomic Breakthrough Development Strategy - Smart City Construction in Binh Duong Conditions”. The Vietnam Business Forum Magazine would like to repost this presentation.

Twenty years ago, Binh Duong took a bold step to renovate and carry out the industrialisation strategy, pioneer public-private partnerships and international joint ventures and gradually develop backbone traffic routes like Binh Duong Boulevard and My Phuoc - Tan Van Road; world-class industrial parks like VSIP, My Phuoc and Bau Bang to lead Binh Duong from an agriculture-based province to an exemplary industrial province where the shares of industry and service respectively account for 63 per cent and 23.5 per cent. The province ranked third in Vietnam in domestic revenue, second in foreign direct investment (FDI) value with 9.4 per cent of the country’s total attracted value, and fourth in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) featuring its transparent business environment.

The province’s GDP growth averaged 13 - 15 per cent annually. Its urban zones were also built to meet rising demands of people, particularly new Binh Duong City with internationally standardised planning.

Our world today stands at a historic turning point with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In addition, global production is shifting towards five potential developing countries, including Vietnam. Standing before the huge opportunity of the time, Binh Duong decided to launch new innovative actions to accelerate spectacular socioeconomic development.

With 20 years of international experience exchange, Binh Duong leaders and Becamex Corporation studied cities around the world to seek best growth models, particularly Eindhoven - the Netherlands. Eindhoven has made a spectacular breakthrough to overcome the crisis in order to become one of Europe's most important industrial research and development centres in just 10 years, and the Intelligent Community of the Year in 2011, according to evaluation criteria of the World Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The key to Eindhoven's success is the tripartite efforts of the government, business and academics. The stakeholders work together to share knowledge and resources to shape long-term visions and establish appropriate strategies and action programmes to elevate the development to a new level. In 2015, Binh Duong province and Becamex Corporation twinned with Eindhoven City and Brainport Company to jointly research and deploy the Binh Duong Smart City Project, a ground-breaking socioeconomic strategic programme for Binh Duong province, apply the tripartite cooperation model in a bid to create the basic foundation for advanced service, high technology production, smart city construction planning by 2021 to prepare for the knowledge economy.

Sharing the vision with Eindhoven, Binh Duong did not follow old approach as others in developing the smart city model: Simply applying advanced technology to solve a number of issues such as traffic management and e-government. The Binh Duong Smart City Project aims to mobilise many internal and external resources to target new values of regional and global economies in the 21st century where people and knowledge are in focus.
For Binh Duong, the smart city is defined as a dynamic, innovative and connected ecosystem in which every element is constantly being improved, innovated and optimised.

General objectives and orientations of the project were compiled by leaders and experts of Eindhoven City, Brainport Company, Binh Duong Province and Becamex Corporation, presented in the Binh Duong Navigator Document - a socioeconomic breakthrough programme to 2021, with a vision to 2030 approved by the Provincial People’s Committee on November 21, 2016. This document figures out common perspectives, defines development orientations, assigns and undertakes specific action plans to build Binh Duong - as an important part of the Southern Key Economic Region - into a world-class smart city. The document has been developed over time and updated regularly, including 46 specific actions in 14 programmes divided into four categories: people, technology, business and underlying elements.

People: People are placed at the heart of the project. The main content of this element is the workforce, work capacity, cooperative capacity, educational level, work skills and suitability. The long-term goal is that Binh Duong province strives to become a globally competitive destination to attract, train, develop and retain scientific and technical talents to promote innovation and economic growth. Experimental centres and innovation spaces (TechLab, FabLab and MakerSpace) will be developed in Binh Duong. These spaces have available machinery and equipment, jointly used by academia and enterprises to facilitate students to practice and start a business, as well as promote enterprises to develop their ideas. This goal will be strengthened by a good education infrastructure, an active and cooperative work environment and a solid financial base that will help the province to have a talented and efficient workforce.

Technology: All technological projects target the goal of consolidating and attracting research and development (R&D) activities and stimulating innovation, cooperation and transfer of knowledge, integrating new technologies with key industries and social life, creating good conditions for new technologies to be tested in the real environment (Living Lab) which supports researchers on the one hand and improves people’s livelihoods on the other. Seeing the importance of this element, the local government will lead and provide special support, gather domestic and international academics and companies to join hands for construction and development. The long-term goal is Binh Duong needs to have a solid knowledge base to serve manufacturing and technology firms. In the future, the private and state-funded R&D facilities will not only be in Binh Duong, but also in the Southern Key Economic Zone and stakeholders will strengthen their cooperation to enhance competitiveness in production. Binh Duong is aiming for a better future for people and businesses by the use of advanced technologies as a driving force for socioeconomic development.

Business: Strengthening existing businesses and building new businesses is a key objective of the action programme in this category. Binh Duong now has a huge advantage in the quality and number of manufacturing companies, mainly concentrated in large-scale industrial parks. The province is endorsing the construction of a business database and a supply chain portal in the region, and building supporting industries, science and technology parks and business incubators based on popular models in the world. In the future, Binh Duong province is determined to be an innovative business startup ecosystem and a supply chain network for powerful, capable and integration-ready suppliers and attract more foreign investors with advanced technologies.

Underlying elements: The province focuses on development prerequisites for a strong area such as a good infrastructure, a reputable brand, a favourable business environment, a comfortable and attractive living environment, dynamic cultural, amusement and sports centres, and a broadband information technology network. The province is particularly keen on the development of intra-provincial and inter-provincial artery traffic infrastructures, dry cargo ports, broadband information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure networks, and stable energy sources for modern production. Binh Duong is aiming for a global image of being not only a good place to work and manufacture, but also a smart, interesting, creative and dynamic city to live.

Geographically, Binh Duong has planned an area called as Intelligent Area for about 1 million people to live and work, an area for key urban areas and educational research centres of the province. With an active support of Eindhoven, the Intelligent Area is being developed towards international standards according to criteria of the World Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The province targets to become a member of this community before 2021 to expand the network cooperation to over 160 intelligent, prosperous cities being members of this community to join new development trends of the world.

The nucleus of the Intelligent Zone is the new Binh Duong Smart City, also the centre of the province. Planned to have a modern infrastructure of international standards and play a central role in linking the whole province, the new city will become a prime example of a new development strategy, a Living Lab that first of all applies creative innovations to expand synchronous applications into the Intelligent Area to spread its effects all over the province and share with the area.

At present, authorities, mass organisations, academics and corporations in Binh Duong province have officially integrated Binh Duong Smart City programmes into their action directions and plans. Projects engaged in various aspects have been deployed simultaneously in Binh Duong and operated under tripartite cooperation and international cooperation principles. The province has also had a step-by-step construction roadmap to avoid dispersing resources, starting with projects that can leverage the economy and focus on strategically located well-planned urban areas that gradually spread throughout the province.

Binh Duong is always open and welcome to partners and aspires to have a smart city - a tripartite model. The province is exerting a very strong pull on international investors and intellects, shaping a dynamic environment that motivates universities, businesses and the international community to jointly create smart, innovative ideas, solutions and business models that benefit all stakeholders.

Binh Duong is honoured to be trusted by many friends around the world who closely cooperate with the province to build the smart city.

The deployment of the Binh Duong Smart City Project based on the tripartite foundation is an unprecedented and inspirational but challenging process which will certainly unlock potential for new breakthroughs to catch trends that will make Binh Duong a highly value-added economy where production and service contain high knowledge contents to form a dynamic, creative and connecting ecosystem to generate practical benefits to people and businesses. The province strives to follow Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s direction on its 20th development anniversary: Binh Duong province “will be the first smart city that well combines three parties.”