The Metaverse & China’s BRI: The Digital Silk Road

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The Metaverse & China’s BRI: The Digital Silk Road

In recent times, China has been taking the development of the country’s digital infrastructure seriously. The progress made in testing a digital currency, the Digital Yuan, was a major step in this direction.
It is needless to mention that in 2022, the global digital ecosystem is undergoing swift and decisive changes. Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency, online shopping, and social media all introduced new facets of possibilities to the online space. From the advent of the web upto Web3, new tech and new buzzwords continually spring up.


The newest buzz is the Metaverse. First thought up by Neil Stephenson in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash, the concept has now been adopted as a sort of muse for the next breakthrough in digitization.

A metaverse is a virtual reality that would operate parallel to our physical reality where we may be able to engage with more “physically” than we do with a mere screen. This will be possible through certain advanced technologies such as AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality, and MR (Mixed Reality).

Unlike simple virtual interactions such as through online profiles or virtual chats, a metaverse would allow us to work, socialize, and engage in entertainment more corporally.


Evidently, developments in metaverse technology have the potential to open up new and varied business opportunities and promote mutually beneficial cooperation internationally.


China’s Metaverse Plans


Given China’s recent leaps in Business and Technology, the country has immense potential to build a functional metaverse.

According to a 2022 Morgan Stanley report, China’s potential market for the metaverse within the coming decades is valued at 8 Trillion USD.

In 2018, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) proposed a set of guidelines to further progress in the AR/VR industry titled Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Development of the Virtual Reality Industry.

It emphasized the importance of Research and Development and Content Service Provision as the foundation for VR development.

The Guangdu Huangpu District in conjunction with the Guangdu Developmental Zone released a statement regarding their policy for making progress related to Metaverse technology.

In their Measures for Promoting the Innovation and Development of the Metaverse, it was revealed that one strategic move was to establish a metaverse industrial fund to attract more social capital to the field. This will provide the necessary encouragement for businesses owners, as well as founders of startups, in Guangdu to forge ahead with their ideas for the platform.

In December 2021, Baidu launched the first-ever metaverse app named Xirang or “The Land of Hope”. The software allows users to actively engage in a virtual environment by creating their own digital avatar. Tencent too announced the launch of TMELAND, the first chinese virtual music festival. ByteDance was reported to be testing a metaverse version of social media.

In December 2021, Baidu launched the first-ever metaverse app named Xirang or “The Land of Hope”. The software allows users to actively engage in a virtual environment by creating their own digital avatar. Tencent too announced the launch of TMELAND, the first chinese virtual music festival. ByteDance was reported to be testing a metaverse version of social media.


In 2019, among the top 10 companies to file the most AR/VR patent applications the world over, 6 were Chinese tech giants – including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.


By the end of 2020, China’s VR industry accounted for 44% of the global market at a value of $ 8 Billion.


China also happens to have the highest consumer enthusiasm around the metaverse. According to a report by Newzoo, 78% of Chinese customers said they are interested in interacting with gaming worlds. In contrast only 57% of US customers, and 47% of UK customers thought the same.


Watch: Baidu Unveils Xirang, “The Land of Hope” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME9gsUI_bZg]


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Metaverse


In an effort to explore new possibilities in Digital Finance and Trade Possibilities through Metaverse technology, the China Mobile Communication Association Metaverse Committee (CMCAMC) and the Asia Digital Bank (ASIADB) have formed a new partnership.


In an effort to explore new possibilities in Digital Finance and Trade Possibilities through Metaverse technology, the China Mobile Communication Association Metaverse Committee (CMCAMC) and the Asia Digital Bank (ASIADB) have formed a new partnership.


The CMCAMC is China’s first Metaverse industry group. Members of the CMCAMC include China Mobile Communication Group Co. Ltd, China United Communications Co. Ltd, China Telecommunication Co. Ltd. and other relevant enterprises, institutions, departments for government policy research. Experts in finance, technology and media are also included.


The Asian Digital Bank is the world’s first digital bank with a self-financing system built on blockchain technology.


The collaboration between the CMCAMC and ASIADB seeks to integrate domestic and international digital and financial resources in order to offer more diversified, customized, international and digital services, whilst promoting metaverse partnerships among China and the rest of the world.


The China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) has also called for laying down guidelines and regulations from the government to build a regulatory framework to deter illegal activities, irregularities, scams, threats to user safety, or national security within the metaverse framework.


In short, Chinese businesses and the government are taking metaverse technology seriously.
They are taking solid measures to assure the building of a successful and safe metaverse ecosystem, and fast.

We can see a lot more progress made in China’s digital infrastructure within the next few years; especially the Digital Yuan (E-CNY) and the Metaverse.

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