WIC turns ancient Chinese town into future world

By Wei Zhezhe from People’s Daily

The 5th World Internet Conference (WIC) will be held in Wuzhen, eastern China’s Zhejiang province from Nov. 7 to 9. What surprises will the event bring this year?

Can you imagine a hotel without front desk and receptionist? Five artificial intelligence hotel rooms will make a debut at a cultural village near Scenic Area of Wuzhen at this year’s WIC, offering an opportunity for the public to experience smart services.

“Users can order and pay for the rooms online before their trips and check in  through their ID cards and facial recognition,” said Zhu Zhaokui, general manager’s assistant of a Zhejiang-based company that offers technological support for the hotel.

He introduced that the doors of the pre-ordered rooms would be lit up so that the customers will know which room they have ordered. If the customers are still confused, they will be led to the exact rooms by a light guidance system, he added., they will enter the rooms through facial recognition and then enjoy the smart appliances.

Zhu told People’s Daily that traditional hotel services were powered by manual labor, but the unmanned smart hotels can largely reduce the cost of labor and equipment maintenance. “We used to need three to five people to manage a bed & breakfast (B&B) hotel, and now such a crew can handle more,” he remarked.

Thanks to the wide application of Internet technologies, Wuzhen, an ancient town with a history   more than 1,000 years, has turned into a place where people can experience all smart internet services. Everything about the smart lifestyles in the future can be seen there.

“The 5G era is coming soon! The network rate of the new technology is 10 to 100 times faster than that of 4G, and a movie of 1 Gigabyte can be downloaded in just one second, ” said Shen Jiandong, general manager of a China Mobile branch in Zhejiang’s Tongxiang. Hestood in front of a vehicle where people can experience 5G services in advance.

“China Mobile’s Zhejiang branch will exhibit its new 5G technology at the WIC” Shen added.

It’s the 5th time for Wuzhen tohold the WIC. ” At first, Wuzhen was more like a symbol of tourism, and then a symbol of drama and culture,” said Sheng Yongjun, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tongxiang Municipal Committee. “But now it has turned into a symbol of internet and digital economy as a permanent site of the WIC,” he told People’s Daily.

Through the adjustment of administrative division, Tongxiang has established a science and innovation area that links four major economic and innovation zones of the city.  By 2021, GDP generated in this area will account for over 80 percent of the total GDP in Tongxiang. .

There were only12 companies related to Internet industry or digital economy in Wuzhen when the first WIC was held in 2014. But by the third quarter of this year, the figure has exceeded 500, said Jiang Wei, Party secretary of Wuzhen.

“Over the past 5 years, traditional industries in Wuzhen such as equipment manufacturing, catering and accomodationhave embraced the ‘Internet Plus’Plan and developed vigorously, and a group of traditional enterprises are now waiting to adopt robots and intelligent management,” Jiang said, adding that Wuzhen  will bring new surprises to China and the world in the future development of the new economy.