Thu Duc City: a smart city within Ho Chi Minh City

Thu Duc’s smart city planning provide opportunities for developers.

April 29, 2021

A smart urban city[1] helps improve the quality of life, leading to sustainable development for future generations. The Smart Cities Council defined that an advanced city applies information and communication technology (ICT) to create age-friendly environment, which is supportive, accessible, safe living conditions for different group of citizens. It is not only about using new technology to help improve the built environment, but also about using technology to positively impact local communities. For example, Electronic sensors can support the local government for recording energy usage and monitor any potential leakages for effective operation. There are several international standards to measure technical performances of smart cities, including frameworks provided by International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

A well planned smart town should integrate government planning and financial planning of developers. Planning by public and private sectors can be divided into three areas: smart administration, smart transportation, and smart buildings. For instance, Hangzhou (China) government applied the ISO 20000 standard to the City Brain for data collection and management of traffic lights to prevent traffic jams and accidents (Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 2020). As a result, the traffic speed improved by 15 per cent and supported the emergency automobiles to arrive at the destinations in half the time than before.

On the other hand, business entities could control the existing database of customers to smart buildings. It is about utilising sensor applications to track movement, automatically adjust the environmental features based on customers’ needs, and reduce energy use. According to a JLL report, technological builds can improve efficiency up to 20% y-o-y.

Figure 1: 6 innovation hotspots

Source: VIR

Thu Duc City master plan identified six innovation hotspots for the urban plan, of which Edutech Hub, Automated Manufacturing Hub and Thu Thiem Fintech Hub represent key development areas. The technological education centre houses ten national universities, with 100,000 students and over 2,000 professors. Thu Duc district took advantage of the educational zone, offering human resources for the sustained growth of the Hi-tech Park in District 9. Experts and professionals in the technological zone with high labour productivity (6.6 times higher than HCMC average) created different technological products and analysed the biometric databases for the city. Generally, the three districts completed and supported each other to integrate information and apply technology in the operating process.

Figure 2: Future residential launches in Thu Duc City by building grades 2021-2024, JLL Research, 4Q20

Source: JLL, 2021

Along with increasing workforces, demand for high-end apartments is also up. JLL reported luxury and premium segments contributing 45 per cent to the future supply in Thu Duc city. Furthermore, Thu Duc New City, now also faces air pollution challenge due to growing manufacturing activities, which smart construction techniques can address. The technological application matches the development guidelines of Thu Duc city.

Additionally, the concept of intelligent construction has been recently introduced and applied to office buildings. Developers can reduce operation costs and enhance their brand image if they use technology in residential projects. The intelligent system can detect motion to save energy in non-active periods, which reduces electricity bills. Moreover, integrated development normally operates by green energy, which also improves investors’ reputation in terms of corporate social responsibility. For example, Saudi Arabia utilised smart technology to reduce 40 per cent in a cooling bill (Siemens).

To sum up, Thu Duc City has modernized its development strategy through technological hubs, creating favorable conditions that can be applied for intelligent zoning. At a corporate level, developers can now apply the smart building concept to residential projects and incorporate a connectivity infrastructure that integrates a database to helps support the local government in their administrative endeavors.


(1) A city is defined as “smart urban” when a biometric database is used for upgrading administrative operation within the area and the information gathered from different sources including the citizens, mobile devices and smart building systems is used to manage traffic flows and transportation networks, energy resources, water supplies, waste management, crime detection, public services.