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NEW YORK, NY – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named Taichung City, Taiwan as the Intelligent Community of the Year during its annual awards ceremony at Steiner Film Studios in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Taichung City, which has appeared among the Top7 Intelligent Communities for two years in a row, 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, California, USA, 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. An unemployment rate of 4.4% and annual economic output of US$30 billion are part of the story of this city’s success.
“The rise of Taichung over the past decade has been a well-planned, unwavering act of collaborative team-building under the vision of a mayor, Jason Hu, who left his post as Taiwan’s Foreign Minister and went ‘local,’” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Mayor Hu was determined to put Taichung in a league with the world's great cities, both economically and culturally. His legacy is now established. Taichung and Mayor Hu will be known for having brought to the world’s attention a city few heard of, but who are an example of Intelligent Community development for the 21st Century.”
Today’s Taichung City is the result of a merger of two communities. The city of Taichung, where 70% of the labor force worked in the services sector, and the surrounding County of Taichung, where nearly 50% of the labor force worked in industry. The city is a port, a rail transit hub and an airfreight destination where 1,500 precision machinery companies are the backbone of a diversified economy. Under Mayor Hu, the city has driven investments in information and communications technology to boost the efficiency of its port and road network, to boost agricultural output and create new markets, and to give the small-to-midsize businesses in its many industrial parks a competitive advantage in a global market.
“This city understands that a great place to live is not only one that dominates world export markets in areas such as precision manufacturing machinery and silicon wafer production, but goes to the next level and becomes a great cultural center,” added Mr. Zacharilla. “With its dozens of technology parks, incubators and universities all working together, and with urban and rural populations attempting to function as one, this city is a model of what can be done when a community decides to think of itself as a canvas, and creates an inspiring work in progress."
ICF also honored Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry and Managing Partner of Quantum Valley Investments, as its Visionary of the Year. ICF selected Mr. Lazaridis as the creator of the technology that made secure real-time push-email communications possible on wireless devices for the first time – a breakthrough that opened the door to the mobile devices that are fast becoming the world’s first choice for access to the Broadband Economy. The award also recognizes a lifetime of innovative contribution to his community of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, ICF’s 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year.
Also honored was Dublin, Ohio’s Dana McDaniel, the recipient of ICF’s third-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by ICF’s founders to those who quietly and tirelessly dedicate their careers to improving their communities in ways that exemplify the global Intelligent Community movement. Currently serving as Dublin’s Deputy City Manager and Director of Economic Development, McDaniel has dedicated over 20 years of service to his community, leading innovative projects, such as deploying a fiber-optic network called Dublink, a critical part of Dublin’s economic development.
The awards are presented by ICF, an independent think tank as part of its annual Summit. The conference was attended by nearly 250 thought leaders from around the world, including all of the world’s 2013 Top7 Intelligent Communities. The event was produced in association with New York University’s Polytechnic Institute, and was co-hosted by Trend Media City. Mayors, city managers, CIOs, and executives of leading technology companies from around the world, as well as academics and urban planners, are part of the Intelligent Community movement and participated in the three-day Summit (www.icfsummit.com).
Intelligent Community of the Year – Taichung City, Taiwan
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 where 70% of employees work in services, and a rural county where 50% work in industry and agriculture is a significant source of income. The city’s leadership, under Mayor Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu, was determined to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.
The city and telecom companies partnered to create thousands of WiFi hotspots, fiber-based broadband and 4G WiMAX now reaching more than 90% 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 to give physical shape to its global ambitions.
Taichung believes it has found a way to develop and to sustain itself economically. A 4.4% unemployment rate, a very strong industrial technology cluster and a robust small business sector suggest that this is true. Its leadership is concentrating on what it believes to be the next piece of its developmental strategy, to make the city an iconic location for people outside of Taiwan. It attracts 400,000 visitors annually, many of who go its Greenway Calligraphy area.
In addition to tourist attractions, Taichung City is concentrated heavily on culture and the development of a better, and what it calls “happy,” quality of life. The overall ranking of Taichung City is first in the “best retiree-friendly city” survey of Global Views Magazine in 2012. Therefore, it attracts many people who pay much attention to the quality of life and stay to live in Taichung. Taichung also won the Award for “Culture and Art City” issued by the British World Leadership Forum in 2007.
More information about Taichung City is available on the Intelligent Communities Profiles pages of the ICF Web site www.intelligentcommunity.org