Knowledge city in Guangzhou to get smart eco tech centre

A new feature has been added to the ground-breaking Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City - a smart eco technology centre to showcase the latest in sustainable development.

An agreement to jointly develop the project was signed yesterday between German engineering and technology firm Siemens China and Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Co (GKC Co).

GKC - a 50:50 joint venture company between Ascendas-Singbridge and Guangzhou Development District Administrative Committee - is the master developer of Guangzhou Knowledge City, a 123 sq km green-field township.

The 7,000 sq m Smart Eco Technology Demonstration Centre is to be completed by 2020.

"We are building a city from scratch, so having a project like this will have a demonstrative effect. We can pilot a lot of technologies, not just in buildings but in urban development as well," said Singbridge's chief operating officer Nina Yang, on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

The centre will be modelled on The Crystal, Siemens' urban development centre in London.

Both Siemens and GKC declined to disclose the cost of developing the centre but The Straits Times understands it could be comparable to the €35 million (S$53 million) Siemens spent on The Crystal.

Siemens said much of the technology at The Crystal - such as energy and water efficiency and innovative building design - will be replicated in the new centre.

"The Crystal... consumes 70 per cent less energy than an equivalent building and uses the latest Siemens technology... our intent is to make (the new centre) even better than The Crystal," said Mr Martin Powell, head of urban development at Siemens Global Centre of Competence for Cities.

GKC said the centre will comprise some retail space, conference facilities and an interactive exhibition area showcasing the future of public services and infrastructure. This will "enhance Sino- Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City's leading position as a model for smart eco-cities in the region, enabling it to contribute significantly to galvanising the sustainability movement in Asia", said GKC chief executive Ng Kok Siong.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, deputy party secretary Li Hongwei of the Guangzhou Development District said the knowledge city could be a "pearl" on what is called the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road - China's strategic initiative to connect trading partners along the historic Silk Road.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline Knowledge city in Guangzhou to get smart eco tech centre. Subscribe