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Thailand calls on private industry to help the drive towards Smart Cities

Thailand is currently implementing a Smart City initiative. The goal is to develop smart cities across the country in a manner that helps provinces develop according to their economic needs.

Phuket was the pilot city of the project, funded by the equivalent of US$11 million to begin developing a digital economy. The development of Chiang Mei is starting in 2017, with a starting budget of US$1 million, to be followed by Khon Kaen in 2018, with an initial budget of US$425,000. The Smart City initiative is a key part of the Thai government’s plan to move towards a digital economy. Phuket and Chiang Mei have been designated as intended super-clusters;  investment  centres for high-tech businesses.

The development of Phuket as a Smart City demonstrated to the government that collaboration with the private sector is an essential prerequisite to the project’s success. According to Digital Economy and Society Minister, Pichet Durongkaveroj:

Smart cities cannot be developed by only the state, as their development requires massive funds. […] The private sector should collaborate and jointly use information in an innovative way to develop smart cities and tackle major challenges.

As a result, the Thai government has called on private industry to form  companies devoted towards city development, asset management and innovation, in order to support and accelerate the country’ s progress in carrying out the Smart City initiative.  Local governments will be provided with  the funds needed to support this process and foster public/private collaboration.  This approach is expected to ensure that the project continues on schedule in case of delays in public funding, and to promote long-term investment and long-term continuity in Smart City operations.

The original news item can be found here. The news was originally reported by the Bangkok Post.