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Taiwan brandishes record-high int’l business visitors as 2024 Smart City Summit & Expo kicks off

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By Monsi A. Serrano

Taipei, Taiwan – As expected, the 11th Smart City Summit and Expo (SCSE) officially kicked off today, March 19, with the joint organizers Taipei Computer Association Chairman Paul S.L. Peng, Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Charles Lin, and National Development Council Minister Ming-Hsin Kung.

The opening ceremony which was attended by nearly 800 domestic and international guests from both public and private sectors proved that Taiwan’s Smart City Summit and Expo which has been running for the past 11 years is always anticipated by the participants looking for a reliable, proven and technologically advanced system that Taiwan offers to the world.

During his opening speech, Secretary-General Chia-lung Lin of the Presidential Office stated that the government is working to transform Taiwan into a tech island. Taiwan’s ICT industry has developed a diverse range of smart city and net-zero city solutions over the past decade, and now Taiwan can promote these solutions globally, collaborating with countries worldwide to advance smart city and net-zero city initiatives.

Meanwhile, Minister Ming-Hsin Kung, underscored that achieving net-zero emissions in 2050 is a crucial development goal for Taiwan. The government officially launched the net-zero emissions plan this year to start the ball rolling in achieving this goal.

He also noted that collaborating with the Taipei Computer Association in the ambitious goal of “2050 Net Zero City Expo”, it advances Taiwan’s carbon reduction efforts based on the scale and global recognition of the SCSE but also more importantly, it fosters collaboration with cities worldwide to achieve this challenging goal jointly.

Kung stated that the exhibition will feature displays by eight government ministries and other research institutions, universities, and enterprises related to the 12 key strategies for net-zero emissions approved by the Executive Yuan. Government departments will showcase their net-zero plans for the key strategies, while research institutions and businesses will exhibit corresponding net-zero emission solutions. Kung emphasized that achieving net-zero emissions should not be viewed solely as an increase in business operating costs. Instead, it presents a prime opportunity for business transformation. He hopes that more enterprises will join the net-zero efforts, becoming new drivers for economic growth.

For his part, Chairman Paul S.L. Peng highlighted three key features of this year’s theme, “Digital and Green Transformation.” First, the exhibition scale has set a new record, with a 13% growth compared to the previous year. The Taipei and Kaohsiung exhibition areas feature a total of 600 exhibitors using 2,200 booths, showcasing smart city applications in transportation, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, security, and net-zero emissions. Second, this year welcomes 495 government delegates from 46 countries and regions, representing 112 cities. Among them are approximately 85 mayors and deputy mayors. Furthermore, there are 1,697 international professional buyers, bringing the total number of international guests and buyers to 2,192. This attendance figure, including the number of countries, cities, VIPs, and international buyers, has set a historic record, overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years. Third, the largest visiting delegation comes from Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam, showcasing the increasing economic ties between Taiwan and the New Southbound countries. Additionally, six German city leaders attended, marking a significant breakthrough for the SCSE.

The 2024 SCSE will take place from March 19 to 22 at the Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 2 for four days and from March 21 to 23 at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Hall for three days. Ten cities and counties, including Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Taichung City, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, Penghu County, and Kinmen County, will set up city-themed pavilions to showcase the vision and achievements of smart or net-zero cities. In addition, the National Development Council will organize the “Net Zero City Leaders Summit,” and the Kaohsiung City Government will host the City COP Forum. Mayors or deputy mayors from 73 global cities will be invited to participate in these two forums, contributing to the establishment of substantive cooperation between Taiwan and global cities.

AI takes center stage at SCSE

Cognizant of the importance and indispensable role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Charles Y.P. Huang, Deputy Secretary-General of the Taipei Computer Association revealed how the game-changing AI would dominate the Information and communication technology industry. “AI Everywhere! The omnipresence of AI is the most important feature of this year’s exhibition,” Huang, exclaimed.

Over the past two years, the organizers focused on presenting the applications of emerging technologies such as 5G and AIOT. However, with the global AI boom ignited by OpenAI at the end of the previous year, various AI applications have diffused across industries. Taiwan is already a part of the global AI hardware supply chain, and visitors to this exhibition will witness the widespread applications of AI. The organizers have set up an AI+ Zone to connect the content displayed by the Administration for Digital Industries of Ministry of Digital Affairs’ AI-themed pavilion, as well as the AI displays of all companies. This includes exhibits from Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone Telecom, Foxconn, Acer, Taiwan Web Service, SYSCOM, Shin Kong Security, MiTAC, and Ennoconn. Additionally, a series of forums, including the AI New Generation & SCSE: AI Forum, will cover AI development trends, edge computing, and generative AI, aiming to showcase the vibrant atmosphere of Taiwan’s AI solution development.

Huang pointed out that the application of 5G private networks is also a significant feature of this year’s exhibition. The three main characteristics of 5G, high speed, wide connectivity, and low latency, can be widely applied to smart cities, smart transportation, as well as create enterprise-specific networks for smart factories, smart retail, smart healthcare, smart hospitals, smart warehousing, autonomous vehicles, and vehicle-to-everything communication. With the increasingly comprehensive network infrastructure and commercial equipment, the application of enterprise 5G private networks is expected to rapidly spread. Apart from the three major telecom operators, Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone, and Taiwan Mobile, more than 10 cases of private network applications in smart transportation led by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will be exhibited at the Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 2. The Asia Silicon Valley plans to showcase 6 private network applications at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Hall. Moreover, the organizers have invited Askey and Chunghwa Telecom to demonstrate two applications: the artistic performance “Into Paul Chiang” at the Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and the AR application at the Shoushan Zoo. These applications will be demonstrated remotely via a connected network to the Nangang Exhibition Center, highlighting the use of a cross-location 5G dedicated network.

Huang stated that green finance is a vital force for promoting net-zero emissions. The Ministry of Finance and the Financial Supervisory Commission will lead more than 20 state-owned and private banks to showcase various green finance products necessary for corporate green transformation. This massive financial presence fully demonstrates the important trend of “No ESG, No Money.” In addition, the National Taiwan Ocean University will actively contribute to Taiwan’s net-zero ecological system by hosting School Day activities. The university, proclaimed as the “Leader in International Marine Industries,” will expand its exhibition in celebration of its 70th anniversary. University President Tai-wen Hsu will lead the entire school to showcase marine technology research achievements in three major areas: marine energy, drones, and blue carbon.

The exhibition will feature industry-academic collaboration achievements in areas such as fishery-electricity symbiosis and shipping ports. The university will also organize an international marine energy presentation, inviting experts from Norway, the United States, Poland, and Belgium. Furthermore, the university will invite alumni from previous years to visit the exhibition, participate in forums, and collectively promote industry-academic collaboration to accelerate the university’s progress in marine technology research.

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