As evidenced by investments, acquisitions, and trademark applications by everyone from the Chinese tech giants, China is serious about the metaverse. “Metaverse” made the list of Beijing Language and Culture University and Yaowen Jiaozi.
“Metaverse” made the list of Beijing Language and Culture University and Yaowen Jiaozi
Beijing Language and Culture University published its top 10 online buzzwords for 2021 in the first week of December, and the website Yaowen Jiaozi (which means buzzwords or Chewing Words) published its own top 10 buzzwords for the year in the first week of December.
Both lists included the word “metaverse,” which was the only non-Chinese word on the Yaowen Jiaozi list.
According to business data website Tianyancha, China has registered over 7,000 trademarks connected to the metaverse. A-level gamers have now poured money into the metaverse, causing a gold rush and giving metaverse-concept stocks a boost.
Hillhouse Capital, Zhen Fund, Wuyuan Capital, Evergreen, Morningside, and Xinghan Capital have all begun to establish their metaverse roadmaps, which include portfolio investments ranging from virtual social networks and virtual idols to game firms and VR/AR projects, in the primary market.
Even online sensation and Chinese entrepreneur Luo Yonghao has declared that his next business venture will be in the metaverse.
China is serious about the metaverse
As of December 9, Tianyancha reported that the number of trademark applications, including the term “metaverse,” had surpassed 7,000. Over 1,000 companies have been registered by over 1,000 companies.
It’s also worth noting that 99 percent of metaverse trademarks were submitted in 2021, with the majority of them being filed during the last two months.
Only 130 companies applied before September 22 of this year; by October 22 of this year, the number had risen to almost 400.
Beijing scored first with 810 registered metaverse-related trademarks, followed by Guangzhou (637), Shenzhen (519), and Shanghai (419).
There were 26 domestic metaverse-related investments worth more than 10 million yuan and 35 offshore investments worth more than 10 billion yuan between September and November 2021.
When compared to China’s VR/AR funding, which totaled 2.1 billion yuan last year, this is a significant difference. To put it another way, the total amount invested in the metaverse in the last three months exceeds the total amount invested on AR/VR for the entire year.
China’s tech giants are battling for position
Facebook has renamed itself “Meta” on a worldwide scale. Microsoft has introduced Mesh for Teams, which allows groups to establish their own metaverses, while Google has rebuilt Google Labs to bet on the metaverse as well.
Sequoia Capital signaled a shift in focus by updating its Twitter bio with this sentence, which is full of crypto jargon: “We help the bold build legendary DAOs from ideas to token airdrops.”
Domestic Chinese internet behemoths aren’t going to die patiently.
Tencent has sought trademark registrations for “King Metaverse” and “Tianmei Metaverse,” indicating that it has a wide range of technologies and capacities to investigate and develop the metaverse.
For its QQ messaging app, the company is also pursuing a metaverse trademark. This year, it has put money into a total of 67 video game firms. Tencent is building the metaverse from a “game + social” perspective.
Alibaba invested in Sandbox VR, an offline VR experience center, and Alibaba DAMO Academy established an XR laboratory, announcing that it will continue to explore the metaverse’s “four layers”: holographic construction, holographic simulation, a fusion of virtual and real, and linkage of virtual and real. (Several years ago, Alibaba made a significant investment in the AR firm Magic Leap.)
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, made another foray into the metaverse at the end of August, when it paid 9 billion yuan for VR gear maker Pico, making it the year’s largest domestic VR acquisition. Following that, it made investments in companies relevant to the metaverse concept, such as Guangzhou Semiconductor.
Xiaomi has invested in Zhang Yimou’s Sky Limit Entertainment, a virtual reality-based metaverse company. Baidu, the Chinese internet search behemoth, jumped on the metaverse bandwagon with Xi Rang (which means “land of hope”), an app designed to demonstrate the metaverse at Baidu’s own AI conference.
Despite the fact that China’s computer titans are aggressively executing metaverse initiatives, the Chinese tech ecosystem’s restrictive nature makes it difficult to achieve metaverse’s core promises of openness and free creativity.
The use of hype in metaverse teaching has been chastised
A slew of metaverse network training courses have sprung up in response to market demand. The online course “6 Lectures on Metaverse” cost 29.9 yuan on the Dedao (得到) educational app, and more than 36,000 people had completed it as of November 10. The course immediately made a million yuan in profit.
“Metaverse: First Lesson,” a course on the same app, has thousands of daily active users and generates over 90,000 yuan in daily revenue.
Some internet users are skeptical of the massive sums of money generated by these classes in such a short period of time—all based on a notion that is still in its early stages.
“What is the point of selling this kind of lesson at the moment when the premise isn’t clear?” one commenter on a news story about the classes said.
The Chinese government’s issued a warning about the dangers of metaverse technology
It is unsurprising that the Chinese government has seen all of this investment and publicity.
The People’s Daily, a state-owned publication, issued a warning against the metaverse, specifically targeting speculators engaged in virtual property sales. Money laundering, volatility, fraud, and unlawful fundraising are all concerns in the metaverse’s Wild West, according to the People’s Daily.
Because the metaverse is still in its early phases, the warning suggested that people should wait for it to evolve further to avoid being “burned.”