(Bloomberg) -- Beijing’s plan for a network of smart cities may soon greatly improve urban life for Chinese citizens while conferring benefits on companies and the nation as a whole. The integration of cutting-edge technology with the daily physical world arguably makes perfect sense, given how China’s population is increasingly centered on a chain of megalopolises and urbanized regions. Indeed, the country’s ability to fight the spread of the coronavirus has turned in part on the use of such smart tech.

But these advances also come with Orwellian overtones. Beyond intensifying China’s existing surveillance state, other nations are worried what this smart city technology means for them. As used in China’s fast-expanding military and exported abroad by its companies, some governments—particularly the U.S.—are concerned about its geopolitical implications. On this episode of China 2030, we explore the complex, global ramifications of China’s smart cities.

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