Located in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, within easy reach of Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou, Wuxi is China's first and only national innovative demonstration zone for the internet of things (IoT) industry. Wuxi has seen more than 200 IoT projects come to fruition to date, resulting in the significant advancement in a range of industries within China and abroad. These innovations have been used to enhance a wide variety of ventures around the world, from the generation of wind power in the US and improving national security operations in Europe to helping hospitals in Japan and ranches in Argentina run more smoothly.
Wuxi has been recognized as one of China's smartest cities in recent years. In 2014, the city was selected as a core city for the Smart Cities Initiative by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a renowned professional technology association headquartered in the United States. It is the only Asian location among the five core cities.
Much of Wuxi's appeal can be attributed to its favorable location and the government incentives that make doing business both cost-effective and refreshingly straightforward. These include a dedicated account management team assigned to serve each company operating in the city and a one-stop government service center. Wuxi offers an enviable quality of life for those who relocate there. The city is replete with a well-developed public infrastructure, safe neighborhoods and state-of-the-art shopping and entertainment complexes. It also boasts some of the best international schools in China, making it a popular choice for expat families.
Among the major firms to set up shop in Wuxi in recent years are US healthcare giant Amway and German tech firm the Mühlbauer Group. Drawing on China's reputation as the spiritual home of herbal medicine, Amway invested US$25 million to establish a botanical R&D center in Wuxi. The center is the first and only that the company has set up to study Chinese herbal extracts and the farming techniques of organic herbs. The center's greenhouses are fitted with the latest IoT technology to ensure optimal growing conditions. Light, temperature and moisture levels, as well as other conditions, are intelligently controlled in accordance with each phase of plant growth. The growth status and distinct requirements of each plant can also be recorded for further research.
Similarly, Mühlbauer, a leader in the design and manufacture of smartcards, ePassports and RFID applications, has invested 20 million euros in its Wuxi base since 2013. "We are attracted by Wuxi's cutting-edge infrastructure, which will serve as a solid foundation for the IoT industry's sustainable development going forward," says Frankie Wong, general manager of Muehlbauer Technologies (Wuxi) Co Ltd.
To spur further growth in its IoT capabilities, Wuxi has mapped out an official construction plan for an "IoT town" within the Wuxi National Hi-tech District (WND) called Hongshan internet of things town. Designed to be a breeding ground for IoT technologies, a meeting place for IoT businesses and a platform for carrying out experimental IoT demonstration projects, this "smart town" will also encompass elements such as tourism, cultural development and environmental sustainability. Tailored specifically for IoT businesses, the enclave is intended to offer an ideal ecosystem in which the manufacturing, service and financial sectors of IoT can prosper, and to accelerate the successful progress of Wuxi's IoT initiatives in the years ahead.