Metaverse with hammer and sickle

The next big thing? Metaverse with hammer and sickle

Written by Henrik Burke

China does not want to leave the next stage of the Internet to Mark Zuckerberg’s family in the world. That’s why the party is fully involved when it comes to the Metaverse.

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In the metaverse you travel with an avatar. China wants to play a leading role in the development of virtual worlds.

The Metaverse Train Is Rolling – And Chinese Internet Companies Are Jumping In One By One. All of them invest heavily in the right hardware and software. Bytedance, the operator of the short video platform Tiktok, has acquired Pico – the Chinese manufacturer of VR headsets. And the party is already part of the party.

Baidu, the Chinese search engine company, which has been searching for a new identity itself, has been busy registering the Metaverse brand one by one. The CEO of Chinese gaming company Netease said his company “will run faster than anyone else” in this race to create the next stage of the Internet.

It doesn’t matter whether all Chinese CEOs believe in the future of the Metaverse as much as Mark Zuckerberg does. The mere possibility of this “next big thing” suffices for the pragmatic Chinese. They are clearly showing that they don’t want to let anyone drive alone on this train, neither Facebook nor the local competition.

Definition: What is metaverse actually?

How young this metaverse hype is shown by the fact that its definition appears in almost every longer article. Lots of people are talking about it now. But many still do not know what the Metaverse actually is.

Let’s try. Metaverse is about merging the real with the virtual world. It could be a virtual space shared by multiple users of the metaverse – for example, a virtual meeting room in which our avatar, rather than our head, appears on the screen. The digital space that is extended by VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) technology can also be referred to as the metaverse.

Party officials in China crack down on the Metaverse

There is still no universally valid definition, because “use cases” are popping up all over, which doesn’t make it easy to categorize and abstract them. The speed with which party officials in China in particular are immersed in the Metaverse is all the more surprising.

A hammer and sickle was prominently hung on the wall as a number of high-ranking devices gathered in the China Mobile Communications Association (CMCA) meeting room on November 11 to launch China’s “Metaverse Industry Committee.” The CMCA proudly refers to the birth of her new body as “Metaverse Day” on its website.

Wu Cong Tse: “Metaverse don’t go through the hype”

One of the party cadres present was none other than Wu Congze, the former Vice Minister of Science and Technology. The metaverse is not a temporary hype, Wu said, but a huge opportunity for China to finally seize the technological leadership over the West at an early stage.

In his own words, Wu Congze said, “Metaverse will certainly become the engine of global technological development in the next decade, and will also be a new strategic height to occupy in the competition of the digital economy among all countries.” Even Mao Zedong, the great military strategist, couldn’t have put the matter more beautifully.

Proactive and pragmatic promotion of the Metaverse industry

It is clear that the new Chinese Metaverse Committee has been tasked by the upper echelons of the Communist leadership in Beijing to promote an industry in China, the electronic workbench in the world, which will grow from a multi-billion dollar industry to a highly profitable multibillion dollar industry in a few years. Because many beautiful headphones for “intense and immersive experiences” are produced in the People’s Republic of China.

Pico, for example, which was founded in 2015, actually became the world’s third largest headphone maker earlier this year after its sales rose 108.6% year over year. So you’re really hot on the heels of Facebook’s Oculus headset.

The market for virtual reality equipment is set to nearly triple by 2023

In 2020, the Chinese virtual reality equipment market reached 41.35 billion yuan (about 5.7 billion euros). Chinese market research firm CCID Consulting predicts it could grow to more than 105 billion yuan (equivalent to 14.5 billion euros) by 2023.

So China has a very good chance of establishing itself as one of the leading players in the Metaverse poker game right from the start. Not only proactive and pragmatic support from the government in Beijing speaks volumes for this, but also the technical framework. Nowhere else are 5G base stations being set up as quickly in China. There is more in Guangzhou alone than all of Europe combined.

“Virtual reality is a technology that has the potential to fundamentally change people’s lives. 2021 will be the year that people will look at as its truly launch year,” Alvin Graylin, CEO of VC device maker HTC China, was quoted by China Daily as saying.

* Henrik Bork is an analyst at Asia Waypoint, a Beijing-based consulting firm focused on the Chinese market.

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