JAN 20, 2024
China establishes metaverse working group with Chinese tech giants
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has stepped into the realm of the metaverse by forming a working group tasked with setting standards for the burgeoning technology.
Chinese corporate participation
The announcement, made on Friday, revealed that the working group would comprise representatives from the government, academic institutions and major corporations. In its statement, MIIT explained that the establishment of the metaverse working group aligns with the nation’s emphasis on industrial development within the technology sector.
Notably, the group will feature key figures from major Chinese tech corporations, including Huawei, Ant Group, ZET, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, Sense Time and others. Public feedback on the selection of group members is invited until Feb. 18, although the specific areas of focus for the group are not detailed in the document.
Huawei is paying attention to the promising metaverse space by building up a catalog of metaverse-related patents. Like Baidu, Tencent is focusing on developing XR technology with metaverse development in mind. Last year NetEase collaborated with a Chinese liquor brand to launch a winery-themed metaverse, while issuing NFTs linked to liquor bottles.
Establishing metaverse standards
China has been contemplating the formulation of metaverse standards for some time. In September 2023, MIIT advocated for the creation of a dedicated working group to address the ongoing challenges in metaverse technology. The government’s overarching objective is to ensure the healthy and orderly development of the metaverse industry through standardization and guidance, reducing redundant investment costs and fostering collaborative forces for industrial development.
Analysts from JPMorgan foresee a potential uptick in the value of Chinese tech stocks if the metaverse gains traction in the country. According to their analysis, Chinese web giants like Tencent and NetEase stand to benefit significantly from metaverse development. Even non-web companies such as China Mobile, Sony and Agora could witness positive impacts should the technology gain widespread adoption. In fact, China Mobile led the development of a metaverse industry alliance in China in 2023.
In a December document, MIIT outlined plans to formulate strategy documents clarifying the development path of Web3.
Last year, several local governments in China committed to the development of the metaverse industry. Sichuan, a province once known as a crypto mining hub, aims to reach a market size of 250 billion yuan ($35.1 billion) in the metaverse industry by 2025.
Last May, the city of Zhengzhou announced policy proposals to support metaverse companies. The same month, the province of Henan established a $21.7 million fund to support metaverse-related projects. The following month, an initiative was established in Nanjing to nurture metaverse development. Additionally, Shandong province has plans to grow its metaverse-related initiatives to achieve a market size of 150 billion yuan by 2025.