Chinese local governments are spending millions on the metaverse

Chinese local governments are spending millions on the metaverse

Local authorities across China are rolling out a series of grants and initiatives to attract metaverse-related businesses and talent, betting on the prospects of the emerging trend creating a global buzz.

At least six provincial governments as well as local authorities in 10 cities – including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing – have released either metaverse-focused development plans or specific support measures for people working on the ground, records show. public. For example, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Wuhan, as well as the eastern province of Shandong, plan to provide grants ranging from 2 million yuan to 200 million yuan ($282,000 to $28 million) for metaverse research platforms and projects. , as well as housing allowances to attract talent. .

The metaverse refers to an immersive digital world with a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and mobile internet. While some see it as the next technological revolution, no wide application of the metaverse is currently available despite the hype surrounding it.

However, many Chinese companies ranging from real estate to virtual idols are jumping on the metaverse bandwagon. This fueled job postings in related fields, primarily on virtual reality, augmented reality and metaverse-oriented social platforms, and saw a 16.6% year-over-year increase over the past few years. first seven months of 2022 for these job openings, according to a Monday report from online recruitment platform Zhilian Zhaopin.

According to the report, megacities have the highest demand for metaverse talent, with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen ranking among the top three. New first-tier cities such as Hangzhou and Wuhan also saw notable growth of 65.9 percent and 39.3 percent, respectively, in job vacancies boosted by political support from local governments.

Meanwhile, the central province of Henan last week announced its ambitious plan to join the race for the metaverse. The province plans to build a 30 billion yuan metaverse industry and cultivate 10 metaverse enterprises with “core competitiveness” as well as hundreds of specialized and smaller enterprises by 2025.

Earlier in June, the Shanghai government made a similar pledge to set up a 10 billion yuan fund dedicated to developing the metaverse industry. The city aims to develop a 350 billion yuan metaverse industry by 2025.

Local authorities’ rush into the sector follows the nation’s call to promote technological innovation and the digital economy. In January, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology pledged to develop a number of innovative small and medium enterprises with a focus on metaverse and blockchain.

In the wake of growing hype, while some pundits warned investors of potential risks in the absence of relevant regulations, others said it could become China’s “next bubble”. Despite regulatory and technological headwinds, multinational bank JPMorgan said earlier this month that it expects a $4 trillion market size for China’s metaverse-bound economy thanks to the digitalization of offline consumption of goods and services.

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: VCG)

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