The letter of intent, signed in Busan on Monday (Mar 21), South Korea, follows the Prince of Songkhla University and Busan University entering a partnership to exchange researchers to support start-up projects, said Information and Communication Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana.
In turn, the Thai government has announced that it will earmark B430 million from the 2016 fiscal budget to pursue its plan to develop Phuket as the first smart city in Thailand.
The fund will be used to finance several projects such as the building of an innovation park to facilitate start-up entrepreneurs as well as training courses as part of a digital entrepreneurship programme.
Phuket is now working on its innovation park, located at the Prince of Songkhla University, in collaboration with CAT Telecom, which will provide the internet infrastructure.
The term “smart city” refers to the use of digital technology to drive urban infrastructure and also promote the island city as a smart living community focusing on safety and security in both land and marine areas.
The Software Industry Promotion Agency will also facilitate matching between start-ups and investors. The government is banking on the project to promote international research grants to developers who will then create innovative products related to the smart city and subsequently match them with investors.
The minister said he expected to see digital investment from Busan investors aiming to capitalise on government incentives for the digital industry super cluster. Busan is South Korea’s second largest city.
Mr Uttama said Phuket was selected as the pioneer smart city because it is an international destination.
He said safety and security would be beefed up around Phuket with 200 CCTV cameras. The projects will be completed within a year while the government will work to make sure it has sufficient funds to finance tech start-ups that will assist the development of the smart city in three years.
Read original story here.