Chinese Municipal Government Pushes Metaverse Plans After Shanghai City’s 5-Year Proposal

Updated by Ryan James
In Brief
  • Beijing municipal department of Tongzhou District has released its Web3 innovation plan.
  • Previously, the Shanghai city government had announced plans of a multi-billion dollar metaverse industry.
  • The new announcement comes at a time when China's growth forecast in the real economy has taken a hit.
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On August 23, the Chinese local government body announced the “Beijing Urban Sub-Center Metaverse Innovation and Development Action Plan (2022 -2024)”

Beijing municipal department of Tongzhou District released the Web3 innovation plan as per the translated document. It noted, “In order to systematically promote the development of Metaverse-related industries in the sub-center of the city, create an urban technological innovation highland with distinctive digital characteristics, and help Beijing build a benchmark city for the digital economy, this action plan is specially formulated.”

Previously in July, the Shanghai city government had unveiled its plan for developing a 350 billion yuan (around $51 billion) metaverse industry by the end of 2025.

Integration of digital and real economy

This time around as well, the local body remarked that they will actively encourage the innovation and growth of the Metaverse sector in the sub-center as well as the close coupling of digital and physical economies. The statement also underlined, “Strengthen the overall planning of the government, build a solid foundation for the digital infrastructure of the Metaverse industry, build a systematic intellectual property protection system, and encourage the creation of multi-level industry standards and consensus,” as part of the plan.

However, despite the massive plans to promote web3 development, some of the basic concerns of government centralization remain. Be[In]Crypto had previously outlined that while China continues to ban private cryptocurrencies and pushes stricter regulations for NFTs, it sees a bright future in blockchain technology.

In fact, Web3, Metaverse, and NFTs were considered crucial components of Shanghai’s five-year economic recovery plan. Therefore, the new announcement also comes at a time when China’s growth forecast has taken a hit and unemployment is at worrying levels. China’s 2022 full-year GDP growth forecast has been revised downward by Goldman Sachs to 3.0% from 3.3%, and by Citi to 3.5% from 3.9% recently.

Metaverse as a recovery plan

On the contrary, despite the fact that many in the tech sector are feeling the pinch from the uncertain global economy, which has resulted in layoffs and hiring freezes, the emerging Metaverse industry is now driving a recruitment boom in China, a recent report has noted. 

Therefore notably, the plan also focuses on how the building of sub-center cities and the concentration of industrial development are closely related to the development of the Metaverse. It notes, “Relying on cultural tourism areas, Grand Canal cultural belts, and characteristic towns, etc., through comprehensive opening scenarios, it will drive enterprise development and Industrial cultivation, forming a whole chain pull.”

That said, as of March, an estimated 4,000 Chinese companies had expanded their presence in the Metaverse space. Back in June, the Hang Seng China Metaverse Index was launched to track the performance of Chinese companies that are involved in metaverse businesses.

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