Hong Kong is jumping on the global "smart city" bandwagon, but it's seen as having far to go to catch up with leading Asian competitors.
The metropolis of more than 7 million people exudes modernity with its neon skyline and bustling waterfront showcasing its history as a global trading hub. But when it comes to leveraging advances in digital information technology and data collection to improve connectivity, efficiency and the environment — key aims of smart cities — many judge it as lagging.
The local government in December promised a remedy, vowing to make Hong Kong a "world-class smart city" with aims of increasing quality of life and attractiveness for global business and investment.
Foreign businesses and investors support the smart city idea, but many say specifics are often lacking.
"Of course we cannot disagree with all this, it's great," Tom Uiterwaal, CEO of Hong Kong-based Reconergy and chairman of the Environment & Energy Business Council of the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said Wednesday in a presentation on the environmental aspects of the plan.
"But it's not very concrete," said Uiterwaal. "It's very vague."