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City of Wuhan taken by Flickr user ChaChaWei published under a Creative Commons license

Smart cities and a working week in Wuhan


Capital of the Hubei province in Central China, Wuhan has ten million residents and is forecast to become one of China’s eight megacities by 2025; the city signed a friendship agreement with Manchester in 1986 and has a long-standing record of collaboration. Now the UK Government is in the process of establishing a consulate in the city and the overarching theme, shaped and led by Manchester, will be ‘sustainable urbanisation’ including low carbon, healthcare and smart cities.

A delegation to Wuhan will be taking place in late March led by 2015 (see downloads below) led by Sir Richard Leese and Greater Manchester companies with smart city expertise are being invited to take part. Led by a number of partners including the Manchester China Forum, participating small and medium sized enteprises (SMEs) could benefit in a number of ways:

  • Workshops and high level discussions on project and business opportunities with high level officials from the cities of Wuhan, Xuzhou and Quingdao.
  • Membership of the new EU-China Smart Cities Forum, of which Manchester is a leading city providing further market penetration and access to business opportunities.
  • A full SME delegation on smart and liveable cities themes led by UK Trade and Investment.

A Smart City Challenge

A wider ‘Smart Cities Challenge’ is being run by Manchester City Council with the aim of introducing UK SMEs to the Chinese smart city market, worth billions of pounds. It is estimated that by 2020 China alone will have 221 cities with a population over a million and it is this huge urbanisation that Manchester businesses could make more sustainable, and for them, profitable.

Applications to join the project are being currently invited across a range of areas including:

  • Open data standards and approaches
  • Private sector expertise and involvement in smart city projects
  • Increasing knowledge and education amongst citizens
  • Design and delivery of smart city districts
  • Development of city based integrated operations systems.

Organisers hope that by the end of June 2015 they will have worked up funded proposals for at least ten real world solutions from Greater Manchester businesses and a further eight examples of existing good practice or products and services which can be adopted as ‘quick wins’ within the Chinese market.

Businesses interested in the challenge need to send in a proposal by Friday 2 January (see download below or visit the project website) while those interested in taking part in the March delegation should contact the Manchester China Forum.


Main image of City of Wuhan taken by Flickr user ChaChaWei published under a Creative Commons license

Manchester China Forum Week in Wuhan [PDF, 326.91kb]
Smart Cities Solutions [DOC, 2.81Mb]