In China, the metaverse industry will grow by almost 40% this year. The regime in Beijing has officially recognized the metaverse as a “key industry.” The newfound bullish stance on the virtual experience ignores the setbacks that metaverse innovators in the United States and elsewhere face.
China is experiencing significant growth in the metaverse industry. In 2023, it is expected to grow 39.5% to reach US$1,06,102.8 million, according to figures from Research and Markets.
Big Tech Expands in China
China’s tech giants, including Tencent, NetEase, Alibaba, and ByteDance, have all recognized the potential growth of the metaverse market. Last year, Alibaba, part of China’s largest technology conglomerate, launched a luxury Metaverse shopping experience last year. The immersive AR platform is currently the largest online destination in China for luxury brands.
The Chinese government is prioritizing the development of the metaverse sector, leading many provinces to plan significant increases in their investment. At least six provincial governments and local authorities in ten cities in China have issued their metaverse development plans, while Chinese universities are opening new virtual departments in the metaverse and creating degrees based on its study.
GlobalData also predicts that Chinese investments in metaverse-related technology will overtake the West this year.
Metaverse a Key Chinese Industry
The metaverse has been identified as a “key industry” for the country’s future. Last year, the Chinese government released its first national policy to develop metaverse-related technologies such as VR, AR, and MR. The Virtual Reality and Industry Application Integration Development Action Plan (2022-2026) sets out the goals and tasks for the next five years.
Interest in the metaverse has waned since the emergence of popular AI platforms like ChatGPT. However, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, has said his company will not be pivoting away. Although, Meta does plan to include “meaningful and useful” AI avatars in its own metaverse.
Google Trends data show that interest in the metaverse has decreased significantly since January 2022. Critics claim that many projects using the term are not very different from existing virtual worlds and that the term itself is vague. This week, Reality Labs, Meta’s metaverse unit, reported a $3.99 billion operating loss in the first quarter.
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