How Internet turned remote Wuzhen into smart global city

It took Wuzhen just 30 years to turn from a remote quiet town with its newly first built road to reach the outside world into a test field covered with Internet-oriented services and a hotspot for people from around the globe to connect.

Wuzhen, a water town in Zhejiang province, is about to welcome nearly 2,000 participants from 120 countries to attend the Second World Internet Conference, the largest and most high-profile Internet-related event, from Dec 16 to 18.

About 50 per cent of the guests will be from overseas, including eight foreign leaders and nearly 50 minister-level officials.

Wuzhen, chosen as a permanent place to hold World Internet Conference last year, won the honour due to its Internet economy and traditional culture.

The town is a perfect demonstration of how Internet technology will effect and help people's lives.


Wuzhen has more than 2,600 Wi-Fi signal spots for people to access Internet, even in toilets, reportedly the most Wi-Fi-concentrated area in Chinese mainland.

In Wuzhen, leaving home without wallet is fine as online mobile payment method is mature and popular while it's just a new thing in big cities such as Guangzhou.

QR code

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On the busiest road in the town, where dozens of hostels, inns and restaurants are located, QR codes are the trending name cards to attract business.

After scanning the QR codes in a few seconds, visitors can access hotels' web page with information like telephone number, introduction, online booking, address and customers' comments in no time.


It's not just tourists who benefit from the town's high-tech development.

Wuzhenminqing, or resident affairs in Wu Zhen, an app that also has an official account on WeChat, is an efficient platform for local villagers to ask help or communicate with local government.

Both of the social platforms are run by Construction Management Committee of Wuzhen International Tourism Zone in Tongxiang city.

Li Hangyu, a local village official, has received requests from villagers who sent questions on the app.

A villager's car was blocked by other cars and couldn't be moved out. Instead of waiting, he took a picture of the situation and sent it to the app asking for help, reported on Sunday.

Li soon received a message and contacted the transportation authorities to deal with the issue. In half an hour, the cars were moved away.

Li said: "With this app, we can answer villager's help 24/7 no matter where we are, which highly improves the efficiency."

The app, the first township app in China, has its test run since the beginning of the year to serve over 4,000 villagers. Skipping all the low-efficient application process that people may need to run several offices, the app provides villagers all the services online in real time to save time.

Internet hospital

On Dec 6, an "Internet hospital" was launched in Wuzhen. While the hospital is still brick-and-mortar building, doctors are consulting and diagnosing their patients on the Internet who could be hundreds of miles away.

Doctors can read patients' medical history and scan pictures that are shared and authorised by the hospital thanks to the cloud computing system.

They will give their diagnosis on a remote video system to the patients in the Internet hospital after analysis.

Apart from it, patients can also get prescriptions from the doctors and pick up the medicines in the Internet hospital, which may not easy to buy in their town.

The hospital plans to work with over a thousand hospitals with over 200,000 senior doctors across the nation. Patients don't have to travel far for consulting a renowned doctor located in other cities.

Wuzhen is on its full speed to improve its infrastructures with Internet technologies and Internet Plus drive, whether it with regard to tourism, administration or local livelihoods.

Tongxiang, a county-level city where Wuzhen is located, veers its development direction from manufacturing industry to high-tech internet development.

Since November last year when first World Internet Conference was held, More than 20 Internet companies have located their companies in Wuzhen which has a strong momentum to be developed as a smart city.