As capital of a poor western province, Guiyang’s sudden development into China’s ‘Big Data Valley’ has brought astonishing change, with Foxconn and Tencent already drawn to the city. Could the city one day rival Shanghai?
“The difference between the Guizhou of today and when I was young is huge,” declares 56-year-old Li Maoqin, a resident in the south-western province’s capital Guiyang. “It’s like the difference between the earth and the sky.”
Guiyang, nestled among luscious green mountain peaks, has typically been known more for poverty than innovation. As a child, Li was so poor she went with her grandmother from village to village, begging for food. But this rapidly developing city has a plan to reinvent itself as a technology hub, attracting thousands of tech-savvy entrepreneurs to a week-long Expo, drawing big names to open data centres and embracing the self-proclaimed nickname “China’s Big Data Valley”.
When I was young … people lived in houses built of wood. There was no electricity and we had to get water from the well