Urban areas may be turned into smart cities hinh anh 1Viet Nam should turn its urban areas into smart cities to improve economic efficiency and quality of life. (Source: hanoimoi.vn)

Vietnam should turn its urban areas into smart cities to improve economic efficiency and quality of life, Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee President Nguyen Thien Nhan has said.

Speaking at a conference on smart city development held in Hanoi on August 28, Nhan said the nation's cities are building more advanced models, aiming to use new technology and increase development.

Smart cities are, generally, more modern. They utilise the most advanced information technology available to improve the lives of citizens and boost the economy. They also give citizens more opportunities to supervise their Government by using data from the community to gather feedback and input on policies and services.

But before smart cities could be built in Vietnam , the country needs to solve a few problems, Nhan said. Population growth has created environmental, health, traffic and housing hurdles. Overloaded infrastructure, competition among cities and regions, and people's increasing demands for better quality of life need to be addressed.

Working in Vietnam 's favour, though, is the fact that the percentage of people using the internet was 43.8 percent last year, 9 percent higher than the Asian average and 1.6 percent higher than the world's level. The country has also used IT to manage State and social affairs, which has put it on the right track, he said.

Vietnam has nearly 14,000 IT companies with 500,000 employees. The nation's e-commerce turnover last year totalled about 2.9 billion USD.

Many countries have made their cities "smart," including the Republic of Korea and many EU countries. Last year, Singapore announced it would turn itself into a "smart nation," while India said it would build 100 new smart cities.

Nhan said delegates from Japan , the Republic of Korea , Singapore and the US will share their experience in building smart cities and suggest challenges Vietnam will have to face in the process.-VNA