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  • Writer's pictureSofa Summits

From Tokyo to Singapore – the Smartest Asian Cities

With each passing day we advance technologically in leaps and bounds. Right now we have achieved more than what we thought possible 20 years ago. We now enjoy many things thanks to technological advancements, such as smartphones, WiFi, laptops and a whole plethora of apps and software. The world has become smart, and while technology is available in most corners of the world, there are certain hubs which is considered to be tech havens. These Smart Cities are the leaders in the world of technology, implementing technology that makes citizens lives a easier. Today we’ll be taking a look at 5 Asian Smart Cities.


First up we have the capital city of South Korea. Seoul is one of the great transportation hubs of Asia. The city prides itself on having two airports – Gimpo International Airport and Incheon International Airport. In addition to that, the city has a strong network of buses involving a many intercity bus terminals. Seoul also has 14 subway lines that interlink the city’s districts with each other. Two tiers of taxi services and train network that connects it with every other city in the country. Seoul does suffer from air pollution due to the number of inhabitants, making it one of the most polluted cities in Asia. In terms of tech opportunities, the city has the Digital Media City, a high-tech complex that houses numerous digital technologies and ubiquitous networked offices. Seoul also has made efforts towards empowering its citizens to be connected with technology. Citizens are encouraged to donate their old devices when buying new ones, incentivised by tax deduction in the range of $50-100 per device donated.


Next we have Singapore, as far as transport is concerned, Singapore has a more land based travel system. With more focus towards expressways and long roads; most people choose to drive to reach their destination. Of course there are many public transport facilities available as well such as a network of buses, railways, cable cars and taxis. Currently the air pollution in Singapore is not too serious, but in the past it has been at levels where it was dangerous. A fibre network provides high speed internet all over the island, already there 3 mobile devices for every two citizens – so the country is well connected. Singapore aims towards having a virtual model of the city, where information about everything happening in the city will be free and open to the people.


If there is a city that has been named the unofficial tech hub of the world, it’s Tokyo. The main mode of transportation in Tokyo is public transport, their rail system to be exact. Over 40 million passengers were recorded using the Tokyo rail system. There are 882 interconnected rail stations in Tokyo Metropolis, out of which 282 are Subway stations. In terms of air pollution, there are areas where there are high levels of air pollution, and there are areas which are safe. Overall, things can be better, people with sensitivity may have trouble living there. The trend of smart cities is catching on in Japan, and Tokyo aims to be one of such cities. There are lots of opportunities tech wise, many of the biggest digital technologies are based in Tokyo and internet is made available all over the city at a fast speed. One of the steps to be taken in making Tokyo, will be providing clean energy to its residents and reducing its carbon footprint in the world. As mentioned before, Tokyo has high levels of air pollution, so one of the steps of the smart cities project will be taking care of that problem.

Hong Kong

Quite arguably one of the most popular Asian locations. The transport system in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world, it is highly sophisticated and encompasses both public and private means of transport. Though 90% of the daily travel done by the residents is done on public transport, buses and railways being the most preferred. In terms of air pollution, Hong Kong is one of the safest in the world. Multiple areas in Hong Kong are completely safe, and only a few of them are deemed as an inconvenience for people with sensitivities. There are projects underway that will leverage people-centric information and communications technology solutions to improve the use of resources while enhancing the management of road traffic and pedestrians. Right now there is focus on attracting overseas support in the area, so the project can be pursued in earnest. The plans are enabling Hong Kong to be a digitally connected smart city where there is rapid flow of information via the internet.


A second city on this list from Japan, and like the previous entry, the main means of transportation in this city is also public transport, trains to be exact. Taxis do exist but are generally expensive, as compared to buses which remain the second most preferred way to travel. The most preferred way to travel in Osaka is through bicycle. Osaka also has a good subway system, with a network that spans all over the city. As compared to our previous entry on this list, Tokyo; Osaka isn’t looking good when air pollution is concerned. There is only a small difference in the concentration of air pollution in Osaka when compared to Tokyo. Osaka is on its way to become a smart city, there are plans in motion to provide good and clean energy to its residents. It will also attract foreign investors and in return export Japanese branded merchandise and goods. The Japanese vision of future cities includes resilience to disaster. In addition to controlling electricity, the smart city in Japan also needs to monitor the continuous risk of disaster. Dutch expertise on flood control, using information collected by GPS from sensor and meters installed on dikes, for instance, could be applied to disaster management, rescue and relief works.

So there you have it, 5 Asian Smart Cities and what they are doing to become full fledged smart cities. They already have made quite a lot of progress and more plans are already underway.


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