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Mayor Ko Wen-je Attends a Luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan: Building Taipei into a First-Class Smart City, with a Top Priority on Digital Foundations

Mayor Ko Wen-je Attends a Luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan
On March 19, Taipei City mayor Ko Wen-je was invited to attend a luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan to share the roadmap for Taipei’s smart city plan and its vision for the future, in the hope of more opportunities for collaboration between Taipei and the United States in the future. In his speech, Ko said that as the COVID-19 pandemic raged worldwide last year (2020), severely damaging the world’s supply chain and the economies of various countries, Taipei was one of the few cities in the world that was not affected by the pandemic and where citizens could lead a normal life. The pandemic has also catalyzed an active transformation in Taipei City. Ko stressed that in contrast to the concept of “pandemic prevention, relief, and revitalization,” the approach undertaken for Taipei City this time is “pandemic prevention, relief, and transformation,” and further explained the transformation progress of Taipei into a smart city.
Ko stated that since 2016, Taipei has actively promoted the development of smart cities, encouraging innovation in various industries and improving public–private collaboration, with the public and private sectors providing field support and relevant solutions, respectively, thereby converging top–down and bottom–up capacities. Twice a year, the government announces a series of projects and issues for the industry to provide solutions to, soliciting external experimental projects while welcoming the proposal of solutions to jointly promote the development of smart city industries in Taipei.
As an example, Ko mentioned the recently launched TaipeiPass, which integrates various virtual and real cards such as senior citizen cards, NHI cards, and library cards, a function that is highly convenient for the public. In addition, Taipei City has promoted Neighborhood Digital Construction, which enables neighborhood residents to use a variety of cards to verify their identities, acquire supplies, and register for events. In terms of smart campus expansion, Ko indicated that the cloud classroom “Taipei CooC-Cloud”, which has accumulated more than 10,000 videos, has gained even more favor from foreign countries since the pandemic. The Taipei City Government has generously shared the cloud classroom with the Overseas Community Affairs Council to assist overseas Chinese in using the Chinese education platform.
In response to the advent of artificial intelligence and 5G, in terms of smart transportation in Taipei, the Taipei City Government has collaborated with industries to conduct self-driving bus experiments in bus lanes of Taipei’s Xinyi Road, in the hope of introducing self-driving buses in the city in the future. Smart medicine has also been combined with 5G technology in its application in municipal services. For example, an experiment was conducted at Taipei City Hospital, where a 5G private network was established and robots were used to deliver meals and medicines to isolation wards, thereby reducing the burdens of medical staff.
The Taipei City Government will host the Smart City Leaders Summit & Expo from March 23 to 26 this year (2021). It is the largest smart city exhibition in Asia and one of the few exhibitions to be held under normal circumstances during the pandemic, and everyone is welcome to participate.
At the end of his speech, Ko said that at present the most urgent task for the Taipei City Government is to complete the city’s digital infrastructure. The government will build a platform that will enable the industry, private sector, and the world to engage in dialogue and jointly establish smart cities. He hoped that everyone can uncover business opportunities in this process and work together toward a better future.
Ko’s speech received an enthusiastic response from attendees. During the final Q&A session, a guest at the luncheon said that Taipei City has improved significantly since 2015; another guest also noted that Taipei City has a very complete, open, and transparent investment mechanism and method, which is a favorable environment for foreign investment.