Jaewon Peter Chun President at World Smart Cities Forum On The Future of Smart Cities

Jaewon Peter Chun President at World Smart Cities Forum On The Future of Smart Cities

“There has been a trend of rising attention for the sustainable industry; the future of smart cities is looking brighter every day and the feasibility of implementing a smart city is becoming widely increasing. With our affiliations, we are successfully creating an inclusive, tech-oriented system through the Smart City Master Planning and TechSandbox.” Jaewon Peter Chun, President of World Smart Cities Forum

Jaewon Peter Chun was Born in South Korea, started with Investment Bank and started initially in investment / finance in tech and working in investing in high potential companies. Jaewon Peter Chun is now the President of the World Smart Cities Forum, Chief Executive Officer, ARK-i Labs since Nov 2019. Jaewon is also the CEO, XnTREE and Executive Directorof Korea-Israel Chamber of Commerce (KICC), since Mar 2011. Jaewon Peter Chun has been a Partner, APEX Investment & Company, since Jan 2005.

Interview focus

1. An introduction from you – background, overview, education…
2. Career highlights
3. South Korea background growth and work in innovation
4. Definition Smart cities
5. Your company, organisation and focus
6. World smart cities forum
7. ArkILabs – solution services around the world based in smart cities
8. XnTREE tech accelerator
9. With Covid-19 how can you look at this as a way to redesign our society
10. Goals and how do you see the future of work and the main trends in tech and society
11. Future vision for cities and the world

Quotes / highlights from the interview

· How we define smart cities is critical today. And more importantly, cities have to focus on SDG and sustainability. Smart cities need to start with a designated area and not by the whole town. Special when it comes to big cities like London, New York.

· South Korea development as smart cities – very government driven. The South Korea Government chose new cities as frame one of them to be the new capital and one that is the biggest port – National Pilot projects. I was responsible for Poussin to be much more a hub of digital transformation. Innovation tech hub is a designated area to create a South Korean Silicon Valley. We are trying to transform conventional industry to new industry. This pilot was important with concepts as collaborative clusters. It is an international tech validation sandbox. I brought this concept for the South Korean smart city national project.

· I took this after to other national governments and cities around the world. At this stage it was critical to come up with a tech city sandbox – nurture companies that can integrate systems to the whole project.

· Working in the project of the smart city of Hanoi, Vietnam and applying the experience of South Korea to Vietnam. Using the lack of development to make a quantum leap of development as they have no legacy. Like in China they could upgrade the country as a way to digital transformation in the country. The similarities between Vietnam and China can have a massive impact on the rest of the world. The scalability of Vietnam is a massive opportunity. The 100 million population mostly are in their 20s and can adapt to tech faster.

· Regulation and digital transformation are key when it comes to smart cities. We have to regulate sensors, data, infrastructure and this needs a tech sandbox to protect experimentation and a space to create solutions.

·  I hate to define smart cities – the meaning of smart cities is becoming dependent on the background where you live. The most important aspect to take care of when we talk about smart cities is the people. What kind of people live in a city and people need to participate in activities and be part of their cities, business, entertainment and this is the cradle of the data to build cities of the future.

·  How to embrace data and dealing with the data. Data can be really efficient when people can use it in a  better way. Data analytics and data mining and data sharing. A way to look at this is Covid 19. Western people looking at South Korea’s tracking of people is different from them as they have different ways of looking at the solutions and how to deal with these differences of cultural values and solutions.

· A solution is to create an open gate that communicates with authorities and organisations and these kinds of initiatives can create smart sustainable solutions for smart cities. Sharing ideas on these topics are critical and fundamental for solving issues and the cities should evolve based on people activities and collaboration and tech should support this.

· World smart cities forum was created recently as a way to look at goals and KPIs to cities. Most of the cities around the world are poor and have no money. And if the cities are wealthy the mayors have limited decision making. Building smart cities needs strategy and the World smart cities forum helps them build better KPIs and persuade cities to do what they have to do. Dealing with a basic masterpalm and collaborating with other cities. Combine this as a group and create a mutually beneficial mandate agreement between cities, companies and creating tech sandboxes and persuade the private sector to the cities. It is a non for profit organization.

· ArkILabs create implementation projects between funding and minimise their risks and solutions on a practical level. Trying to create a relationship with the public, private sector. Embrace the private sector and easy regulation and policies to create solutions. It works with the World smart cities forum. XnTREE accelerates companies. 200 companies targets.

· XnTREE accelerates companies to leverage and grow companies to become unicorns and become more efficient organisations.

· Covid 19 will change cities very fast. London is less conservative than NY and it is adapting fast to the new post-covid world.

· Covid 19 has to make us look at solutions and how to look at the issues we are facing and solve solutions and change environments in the cities., Covid 19 will triggle a new form of solutions to smart cities – public transportation – food.

· Covid 19 is changing mindsets and will change the way we live and mentality – culture and adapt to this change of environment. Covid 19 is a force to 4IR and the change after this.

· Goals and how do you see the future of work and the main trends in tech and society. Covid 19 will make dramatic changes. Both on employment and no more full time work and more based on projects. People don’t want to take subways, transportations or offices. This started to change globalisation as we know it. Online offline activities will be the real deal for now

· Smart cities projects are super important as a way to connect and find solutions.

· Future vision for smart cities and what leaders should do – tech sand boxes and share insights – collaborations between private, public sector and academia.

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Jaewon Peter Chun Biography

Jaewon Peter Chun was Born in South Korea, started with Investment Bank and started initially in investment / finance in tech and working in investing in high potential companies. He joined Level 39 since its inception and was involved in accelerating tech unicorns. In Level 39 he started also working with Canary Wharf group working on smart cities. He has been working in 10 smart cities around the world. Finance and technology worked as solutions that Peter wanted to relate with innovation solutions, special to cities and people.

Jaewon Peter Chun is now Chief Executive Officer, ARK-i Labs Full-time, since Nov 2019. He is the President, World Smart Cities Forum Full-time, Dec 2018. Jaewon is the CEO, XnTREE, Jan 2016. He is the Executive Director, Korea-Israel Chamber of Commerce (KICC), since Mar 2011. Jaewon Peter Chun has been a Partner, APEX Investment & Company, since Jan 2005.

About World Smart Cities Forum

Creating the Blueprint of the Future of Cities

World Smart Cities Forum is a non-profit organisation established to assist local governments and municipalities to solve current urban challenges by building and developing human-centric smart cities around the world. They provide strategies that follow best practice and build the structure of sustainable growth models for various cities.

Many governments and cities around the world encounter many mutual challenges. Some of these key issues include inefficiency of asset distribution, administration, air and light pollution, waste management, climate change, and wildlife contamination.

They are a non-profit organisation providing strategies and assisting local governments and municipalities to solve current urban challenges they face by building and developing human-centric smart cities around the world. By building the structure of sustainable growth models for various cities they look to create smart cities with the below eight pillars in mind.


As technology is evolving at a rapid rate the organization is creating new more efficient forms of renewable energy. The World Smart Cities Forum is looking at the best practices to save energy by not only finding and working with companies that are building new processes and solutions, but also working with their partners to help support their development.


Property and Infrastructure is the foundation for any Smart City. With a good base a city can ready itself for future development and new technological advancements. With the increase of interest in Smart Homes and Smart buildings we are entering a new era for people and cities.

Cross Validation

World Smart Cities Forum has created a system where they are able to connect cities together and produce city sized Sandboxes. By learning from existing Smart Cities the organization can come up with international solutions that can work with similar cities around the world. This will bring new levels of collaboration and will improve the rate of international development.

Innovation & Technology

Innovation and Technology is the foundation of smart cities. Without innovation and technology, solutions to urban problems cannot be solved and so the World Smart Cities Forum strives to select innovative technologies that can aid in Smart City master planning.


Whether it’s commuting to work, popping to the shops or seeing friends, connected transport systems offering flexibility and efficiency are key to the happiness of citizens. At the World Smart Cities Forum they are looking for the most efficient and sustainable alternatives such as electric bikes and buses to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution, as well as improve citizens’ lives.

Water & Waste

Many developing countries struggle with access to clean water which should not be the case in the 21st Century. The World Smart Cities Forum strives to find the best solutions and practices to make clean, running water a commonplace globally for the betterment of people’s lives.

Circular Economy

The World Smart Cities Forum’s goal lines up with the UN to help local governments to utilise projects and build systems to encourage circular economies. The goal is to use resources more efficiently by using them over and over as well as encourage a society to think about reuse and recycling.

Living & Security

Home automation systems are set to be an integral part of day to day life, controlling lights, heating, energy usage, appliance control, access control and security. There are currently few worldwide accepted standards, so at World Smart City Forum their aim is to make a more cohesive set of standards that will be more widely installed into homes.

About ARK-i Labs

ARK-i Labs, a New York-based smart city investment company, plays a pivotal role in leading smart city projects by planning smart city master plans and raising funds from the private sector.

“We are reimagining the way we address key societal and environmental challenges through curating cross-sectoral technology solutions. As we enter into the fourth industrial revolution, we are faced with issues that rise in efficiency, transparency and economics of conventional infrastructures,” the company said.

Master Planning

· Basic design, implementation plan and operation

· Establishing Special Purpose Corporation (SPC) and Smart City Steering Committee

· Pipeline: Hanoi (Vietnam), Lviv (Ukraine), London, U.S Cities

Investment Fund

· Global Smart City Linked Investment Fund

· LPs: Financial Investors and Strategic Investors

· Target Investment: domestic / overseas tech-based startups and Smart City Tech Sandbox winners

Tech Sandbox

· 12-month cohort programme

· Fostering 100 + startups/tech SMEs annually and invest in 15 ~ 25% of them

· High-growth investments in series A – C stages

· Proven model to nurture early-stage startups to unicorns within 3-5 years

Sources / links


World Smart Cities Forum