Notes from the field: the ancient water town of Wuzhen


A great pleasure to visit the ancient water town of Wuzhen for the first time and take a brief stroll among the beautiful old buildings that line its picturesque lanes and charming canals.

Wuzhen owed its bustling prosperity during the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties to its location along the Grand Canal, which was once the main trade route connecting Hangzhou and Beijing. Nowadays, much of its economy is dependent on the tourist industry. Following major renovations that were completed in 2013, it now reportedly receives over 1.5 million visitors per year.


Tourists were thin on the ground today because most of the oldest parts of the town and its major attractions were closed in preparation for the 6th World Internet Conference that starts tomorrow. However, there was still plenty to enjoy in the areas that remained open without having to negotiate the usual crowds.

I’m looking forward to attending the event tomorrow. At the VIA booth, we will be showing our latest smart transportation systems, including the VIA Mobile360 AI Dash Cam and VIA Mobile360 M820. In addition, we will also be demonstrating the VIA AI Learner Kit for elementary and high school STEM education programs.


I probably won’t have the chance to see much more of Wuzhen itself while I’m here this time. But given that it’s less than an hour away from Shanghai by high speed train, I’m already planning to make a return trip next year. If time permits, I hope I’ll also be able fit in some of the other historic water towns that are located around Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou, such as Nanxun, Xitang, and Zhujiajiao.

Let’s see what the New Year brings!

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