Can building a smart city help Dalian attract more people?
Updated 14:13, 23-Jan-2019
By Xu Xinchen, Wang Yao, Liu Youzhi
02:41

The northeastern Chinese city of Dalian is one of the two host cities of the Annual Meeting of New Champions or the Summer Davos. As the forum returns to Dalian in 2019, the city hopes to use its smart city blueprint to attract more people to stay. 

American Tyler Christler stumbled upon Internet fame in China three years ago. In addition to his persona as an Internet influencer, he is a "Dalian Nvxu" – the son-in-law to a Dalian family. He has been living in Dalian for a decade and he refers to Dalian when talking about the city's development.

Screenshot of Tyler Christler's short video skit on Douying or TikTok. /CGTN Photo

Screenshot of Tyler Christler's short video skit on Douying or TikTok. /CGTN Photo

"In my opinion, it is the most developed and most international city in northeast of China. I think that we are trying as best as we can to keep up with technology," said Christler.

He also told CGTN that with the Summer Davos held in the city every two years, more people from around the world could now know more about Dalian.

The city was selected as one of the two hosts for the Summer Davos due to its early start in the tech sector back in the 1990s, and Christler said that he has witnessed the city's increasing emphasis on technology development. The city now wants to leverage on Internet-based technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things to win over more international attention.

According to the municipal government, they plan to build Dalian into a people-oriented smart city. How smart? Everything would literally be connected.

A local resident told CGTN that mobile payments are advanced in Dalian just like many other major cities in China, and now public transport is also online so that people can board subways with just a smartphone.

Su Hang, associate dean of the College of International Economics and Trade, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, speaks with CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Su Hang, associate dean of the College of International Economics and Trade, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, speaks with CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Su Hang, associate dean of the College of International Economics and Trade, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, said that smart city has been a popular phrase used globally and Dalian does not want to miss out.

"Since the Summer Davos came to Dalian, the city always wanted to be more connected with the world. Smart city status and digitalization show Dalian's efforts in trying to be on top of it all. In addition, it is an attempt to improve the local business environment with these technologies," Su added.

Dalian's GDP growth expanded by 6.5 percent in 2018. That is a strong number compared with cities from other countries, but still shy from the GDP growth for the entire country of 6.6 percent, 2018.

In addition, people have been used to high growth figures – close to double digits in China. How can Dalian flatter investors with 6.5? Only time will tell in this smart city hopeful.