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Panasonic helps with smart home and smart car initiatives in China

Panasonic helps with smart home and smart car initiatives in China
Panasonic has launched a research center southwest of Beijing with an emphasis on smart home and smart vehicle development for the Chinese market, the Japanese electronics giant announced this week.

The research center is located in the Xiongan New Area, a smart city project launched in 2017 under the directive of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China.

Panasonic will focus on developing AI technologies that can be applied in improving residential safety and energy efficiency. It will also establish information systems in collaboration with Chinese online search engine Baidu for self-driving vehicle applications, according to online media sources.

Panasonic is pivoting to China also because there is much room for growth, said the company's president Kazuhiro Tsuga. Considering the size of population in China, growth should be on par with that in Japan, Tsuga noted.

Sales in China totaled 800 billion Japanese yen (about US$7 billion) in the fiscal year of 2017, and Panasonic is aiming for 1.2 trillion Japanese yen (about US$10.6 billion) by 2020 and 2 trillion Japanese yen (US$17.7 billion) by 2030.

To drive innovation, Panasonic says it will partner with local pioneering companies. "We will propel innovation in China by teaming with groundbreaking Chinese companies," Tsuga said, per a Nikkei Asian Review report.

Baidu has pioneered in the field of self-driving cars that run the Apollo autonomous driving program developed by the company. It is a large-scale project endorsed by the Chinese government.

Japan Collaborates with the Philippines

The government of Japan is also leading smart city drive. Earlier this week, Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, announced plans to help build infrastructure in a seminar that address the smart city initiative for New Clark City in the Philippines.

“ASEAN nations including the Philippines have achieved rapid economic growth, and they are now facing urban issues and problems Japan had experienced before,” Dr. Izumi said.

Cities in Japan have two advantages that the Philippines can learn from, Izumi said. Smart cities in Japan incorporate mobility, nature, safety & security, resource circulation and use of renewable energy elements. Secondly, the improved transit system includes efficient bus networks and railway operations that are integrated with office, residence and commercial center developments.

New Clark City is a major smart city project in the Philippines, according to country's Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who said Clark City will be “the icon of dynamic urban centers” that the Philippines intends to nurture.

Various Japanese companies, including Hitachi, NEC Corporation, Tokyo Gas and SoftBank Corp., have shown interest to provide smart solutions for New Clark City, for real estate development, information and communications technology, manufacturing, logistics and smart energy applications, among others.

Japan is also helping the Philippines financially with its infrastructure projects. On Wednesday high-level officials from both governments exchanged notes for a loan of 167.19 billion yuan (US$1.41 billion) for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project, and another loan of 37.90 billion yuan (US$336.24 million) for the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project, according to Manila-based media BusinessWorld.

The railway system will have 58 eight-car trains, seven of which will be airport express trains, along with a double-tracked elevated railway that will connect with other lines in Metro Manila.

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