During its annual awards ceremony in Brooklyn, N.Y., today, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Taichung City, Taiwan, as the Intelligent Community of the Year.
Taichung City was represented by a delegation led by Deputy Secretary-General Ching-Chih Liao. The co-founders of ICF – Louis A. Zacharilla, John G. Jung and Robert A. Bell – presented the award to Taichung City, which succeeds Riverside, Calif., the 2012 recipient. Taichung was selected through a year-long evaluation that included quantitative analysis of extensive data on the community, site inspections by ICF’s co-founders, and the votes of an expert international jury.
Taichung, with a population of 2.7 million, of whom 1.3 million live in its metropolitan area, is a city with great ambition. When the city and county of Taichung merged in 2010, it created a huge metropolis uniting completely different economies: a major seaport city and a rural county under the leadership of Mayor Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu.
The city and telecom companies partnered to create thousands of WiFi hotspots, fiber-based broadband and 4G WiMAX now reaching more than 90 percent of the population. Through imaginative applications developed by public-private partnership, ICT has become a driver of greater global competitiveness. The backbone of Taichung’s manufacturing economy is a network of 1,500 precision machinery makers and tens of thousands of SME suppliers. Its annual output is US$30 billion and its export of machine tools is ranked third in the world.
Smaller companies now benefit from a shared, cloud-based ERP system that reduces their purchasing costs and time-to-market. An RFID system at the port automates the clearing of shipping containers for exit, slashing the time trucks spend idling at the gate. Taichung is also helping farmers apply ICT to improve yields and profitability while expanding their international markets.
To power this new economy, the city and its 17 colleges have created a truly lifelong learning system ranging from basic digital education and vocational training to advanced study and continuous skills improvement. And Taichung is aggressively pursuing industrial clustering through development of the Central Taiwan Technology Corridor combining science parks, precision manufacturing parks and software parks.
Taichung City has won numerous other honors, including the “best retiree-friendly city," as well as awards for architecture, environmentalism, culture and art.
ICF also honored Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry and Managing Partner of Quantum Valley Investments, as its Visionary of the Year, and Dublin, Ohio’s Dana McDaniel for its Lifetime Achievement Award.