Sparta participates in Urbanisation roadshow across five of China’s major cities

In mid November 2016, smart city experts and representatives from Sparta Digital, Cisco, Chinese members of the British embassy and some of Beijing’s urbanisation team, travelled across China to participate in an urbanisation roadshow on smart cities. The trip lasted one week and took place in five different major cities – ShenYang, WuHan, TianJin, JiNan and Xi’An – which are all at different stages of their development into complete smart cities. Sparta attended the roadshow along with Cisco to demonstrate IOT capabilities and showcase innovative use case being trialled in Cityverve.

Dr Li Yao, smart city expert and representative of Sparta Digital gave a presentation during his visit to each City. The presentation was similar to the one given to the members of the Chinese Government who visited our office a few days earlier, (which you can read about here.) but on a much larger scale. China has a serious problem with air pollution and studies show it kills around 1.6 million people a year. Once again, ideas were expressed about how different IOT technology and innovative thinking being applied in the U.K, can be used to create self sufficient smart cities with monitored air pollution and less congestion, that eventually results in a better quality of life for its citizens. The audience of the presentation included a wide variety of City, transport, government officials and key decision makers from across China.

Some people may argue that the Cities in China such as ShenYang, are almost a completely different worlds in terms of pollution and urbanisation compared to Manchester. However, we do share some of the same challenges, but just on different scales due to their immense population magnifying things. For example, challenges previously mentioned such as urbanisation, pollution and the quest to create fully functioning smart cities. Another challenge is working together with multiple organisations to collect and share efficiently big data to benefit the citizens. This issue is more related to the regulations and procedures rather than technical hurdles.


In recent times, the great nation of China and the City of Manchester’s relationship has surprisingly blossomed through many things from football to our industrial history. It’s things such as this tour with the CityVerve project that allows us to share our knowledge and show successful use cases from the U.K to help us both tackle our common goals with smart cities and pollution issues, that could one day benefit the entire globe. It’s this common goal and shared similarities and challenges that created a ‘sister city’ agreement with Manchester and WuHan. As a direct action from our visit, the British consulate general in WuHan is planning a trip to the CityVerve premises this month. Cisco and Sparta Digital will explore potential opportunities in China by building on the solutions being deployed within Cityverve.