JD.com has big plans for the future: smart cities are on the way!
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JD.com has big plans for the future: smart cities are on the way!

Have you heard of smart cities? If not, the best way to envisage what they could look like would be to imagine the things that define your smart phone – but on a city-wide basis. That is, cities that thrive on connectivity: homes, streets, and more all in-touch with the wider world thanks to high-speed internet connections. The possibilities that this involves range from the pedestrian (a personal voice assistant in stores and cafes) to the science-fiction-like (city blocks that regulate traffic flow in real time through sophisticated mapping tech and self-driving Artificial Intelligences ([AI]). Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com wants in.

JD.com’s share price has appreciated by 30% so far this year

27 03 JD

Source: Yahoo Finance

JD iCity, the smart city initiative that’s looking to win the race to get Chinese cities connected, is starting out with relatively modest goals. That is, modest compared to the technology’s likely future as a society-shaping innovation. For now, the company will leverage its Big Tech, Big Data, solutions to “build social credit databases, AI-powered traffic infrastructure and other smart transport services,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Zheng Yu, vice president of JD.com, says that the company will analyse a vast pool of data, provided by its 300 million active shoppers to “improve the daily lives of urban dwellers and improve the efficiency of city governance.” Illustrating the potential of these improvements, Zheng pointed to JD’s work in Suqian, where it has developed and deployed a solution that allocates every resident a “unified credit score”.

He explains: “if a person only wants to rent a bike, we don’t take the information of whether or not he is property owner into consideration. But if he wants to get a loan, that information would be important for his credit evaluation,” adding that the system was being used by the city’s officials. JD also partners with a number of other municipal governments in Chengdu and Changsha to deliver similar credit systems.

Disclosure

Dominion holds JD.com in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.  


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