Shanghai is the smartest city in the world

Aerial view of Shanghai city.
Sheila Zabeu -

June 21, 2023

Shanghai, China, has been named the world’s smartest city for the second year in a row. A new study by Juniper Research brought together 50 cities in an assessment of different aspects of smart cities, covering transport and infrastructure, energy and lighting, administration and technologies and urban connectivity.

The study named Shanghai as a leader due to the Suishenban Citizen Cloud, which provides access to more than 1,000 services for city residents, as well as the solid deployment of 5G networks and the use of innovative technologies, including digital twins. Other cities at the top of this ranking offer services that are effectively using data and connectivity to improve citizens’ experiences.

“Shanghai has taken a joined-up approach to data, building not only a robust and comprehensive platform but also connectivity capabilities to underpin all services. This joined-up approach is one of the best features for other cities wishing to successfully replicate Shanghai’s achievements in smart city initiatives,” says Nick Maynard, co-author of the research.

The top five smart cities ranked by Juniper Research are Shanghai, New York, Toronto, Seoul and Shenzhen (China).

Cost saving

In addition to the ranking of the smartest cities, the study also presented the forecast that the cost savings from smart city deployments should reach $249 billion by 2028 globally, up from $96 billion in 2023. This represents an increase of 158%.

Cost savings come from the monetary impact generated by lower energy consumption and emissions from network intelligence, traffic management and street lighting. Cost savings are a key driver of smart city deployments and will equate to nearly triple smart city software and hardware spending by 2028, showing a clear path to return on investment (ROI) for cities.

Now and in the future

After decades of rapid urbanization, China has entered a new stage of smart city development. And given that in the next 20 years, China’s urban population is expected to reach 80% of the total, it is natural that there are already more than 900 Chinese cities with pilot projects underway in this field.

Being named the world’s smartest city by Jupiter Research and having stood out in 2020 among 350 cities from 48 countries with the World Smart City Award (WSCA), considered the ‘Oscar’ in the smart city sector, Shanghai will now become the host of Smart City Expo Shanghai (SCESH). The event will be a dedicated public-oriented exhibition and conference platform for G2G (Government-to-Government), G2B (Government-to-Business) and B2B and will be held annually.

The aim of the conference is to drive the advancement of smart city initiatives around the world as a space for business development and knowledge exchange. It also aims to facilitate the promotion and adoption of innovative solutions for building urban infrastructure and delivering public services globally.

The keynote of SCESH will be ‘Global Summit on Smart Cities Cooperation and Development’ and will focus on smart ecological-urban development and digital transformation. The conference will invite 10 prominent cities from around the world, with presentations from the municipal leaders and business representatives to showcase their achievements.

With a planned exhibition area of 20,000 square meters, the fair is expected to bring together more than 200 exhibitors. It will have thematic and interactive exhibition zones based on real case studies of smart cities, and will feature more than 20 forums and breakout sessions. Through lectures, the online portal and side events, SCESH builds an open exchange platform for municipal governments and business professionals involved in the various areas of smart cities.

Smart City Expo Shanghai is co-sponsored by the Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai and Fira de Barcelona International, and jointly organized by Shanghai Intex Exhibition and the Spain-based Smart City Expo World Congress. This inaugural event is the only one planned by Smart City Expo World Congress in Asia and will be held in Shanghai every year in the future. In this first edition, the event will be held from 12 to 14 October 2023 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.