Ho Chi Minh City determined to become smart city: chairman

Ho Chi Minh City administration is determined to build the southern Vietnamese metropolis into a smart city

Le Thai Hy, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications speals at a conference on September 9, 2016.

Ho Chi Minh City administration is determined to build the southern Vietnamese metropolis into a smart city, municipal chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said Friday.

Officials of various municipal departments gathered at yesterday meeting to discuss a grand scheme for the city to go smart, with the city’s Department of Information and Communications revealing that a detailed proposal to do so will be available later this year.

The proposal will be finalized and submitted to the municipal administration for approval on December 15, department director Le Thai Hy said.

The plan poses three critical questions that need to be answered by October 15.

The issues include which aspects the city needs to prioritize, and what protocols it should undertake to achieve the goal of becoming a smart city. The third issue could be about environment, health care, flood prevention, or public security, Hy added.

According to director Hy, the first priority is to build an electronic infrastructure to facilitate public administration, and the next one is to improve the transportation infrastructure.

According to the current agenda, the first draft of the smart city building plan will be available for pubic feedback on November 21.

The plan, with a timeline of 2017-2020 and could be extended to 2025, will focus on many key issues such as electronic government, planning, transportation, health care, public security, wastewater treatment, construction, environment, education,  finance, agriculture, and telecommunication.

Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the municipal administration, said the three main issues which need to be solved first are building a data center, having an IT foundation, and applying technology to all areas.

Tuyen added that there are many investors wanting to partner with the city to develop a ‘smart Ho Chi Minh City’.

Regarding the tech area, municipal officials have agreed to have VNPT, the Vietnam’s leading telecom firm, partner with Microsoft to develop the city’s IT infrastructure.

“The long-term goal is to build a sustainable metropolis,” Tuyen said.

"All the technological solutions will be utilized to solve urgent problems of the city.”

The deputy chairman added, “If we are not determined in solving these problems, there will be no better city.”

The city’s chairman, Phong, demanded that municipal officials be more resolute in carrying out the project, even though it may seem too ambitious at the moment.

He further cited examples of previous leaders, whose strong determination led to the successful establishment of the Quang Trung Software Park and the Saigon Hi-Tech Park.

“Without visionary people who constantly strive to overcome obstacles, we will not have a city like Ho Chi Minh today,” the chairman said.

“If we decide to do something, we should carry it out with determination and perseverance.

“When experiencing failures, we need to learn the lessons and then move on.”

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