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Silicon city sets new gold standard

By Ma Zhenhuan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-25 09:42
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Cutting-edge AI tech powering and enhancing every aspect of the Hangzhou Games experience

Hangzhou's innovative use of smart applications and cutting-edge internet technologies is enhancing the experience of participants and visitors to the Asian Games.

Renowned as a hub for developing artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big-data technologies, Hangzhou is embracing the Asiad to showcase the latest high-tech solutions for hosting international events.

As well as the advanced methods employed in the construction of the venues, the latest applications were also applied to enhance the efficiency of the Games.

META, supported by State Grid Hangzhou Power Supply Company, is an AI application for electricity usage.

It has been in operation at the Asian Games Village, Technical Officer Village, Media Village, and "Big Lotus" (Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium) since April.

The system will continue to be used after the Games, according to Liu Xingye, a technical expert with State Grid Hangzhou Power Supply Company.

"It visualizes the real-time status of the power stations, including the status of equipment, operation, environment and security. And its intelligent decision-making system can make plans for each site respectively according to the situation," said Liu.

It is essentially the brain of the electricity supply, explained Wang Mingzheng, professor of the School of Management at Zhejiang University.

"The application of META at the Asian Games provides digital protection for its intelligent power consumption, and potentially could also be used throughout Hangzhou, and even the entire country in the near future."

Hangzhou is home to a number of other world-leading high-tech companies, not least Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, one of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee's partners.

With the help of Alibaba, the committee has launched a digital service platform — Smart Hangzhou 2022 — on the tech giant's Alipay platform, which has been hailed as a game-changer for improving the stay of visitors to Hangzhou.

The mini-program, which has amassed over 50 million registered users since September 2020, offers a one-stop shop for ticketing, transportation guides, competition schedules and even recommendations for local cuisine, cultural events and sightseeing.

The mini-program even allows users to create a "digital torchbearer" and get involved in an online torch relay.

The digital torchbearer has led to greater public participation in the games, according to Zhang Ge, deputy director of the Radio, Television, and Information Technology Department of the organizing committee.

Alibaba has also launched programs to make life more convenient for visitors to the Games. Overseas tourists can make mobile payments through the Alipay digital payment platform, which now allows for the registration of international bank cards and non-local phone numbers.

Alipay has promised that it will continue to optimize its functions and services to improve the payment experience for travelers and foreign residents in China as the country embraces higher-level opening-up and global collaboration.

The organizing committee said core technologies such as AI and virtual reality have improved the interactive capabilities of the digital platform during the Games.

Earlier this year, the city signed a cooperation agreement with Ant Group, Alibaba's financial technology arm, to continue working together, marking another significant move by Hangzhou to enhance its digital economy capabilities.

The two sides previously signed a cooperation agreement in October 2020, which saw the global headquarters of Ant Group established in Hangzhou and efforts accelerated to build the city into the "leader of the digital economy" in China.

According to the agreement, Hangzhou and Alibaba will work together in global financial technology innovation, data integration, the Asian Games, and digital governance.

Data from Hangzhou's statistics bureau showed that the added value of the city's digital economy exceeded 500 billion yuan ($68.23 billion) in 2022, accounting for more than 27 percent of its GDP.

According to the Digital China Development Report (2022), published by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the comprehensive evaluation results show that Zhejiang's digital development level ranks highest in the country.

Fang Xiaoying contributed to this story.

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