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China’s Metaverse plans: No need for decentralization

Experts believe that China’s Metaverse will evolve in a different way to international markets. This means that decentralized infrastructure might not be part the game plan.

The Sino Metaverse appears likely to replicate the success of the internet. When the internet first went mainstream in the 1990s, many people theorized that it might accelerate democracy in China.

NewZoo’s 2021 trend report “Intro to the Metaverse” claimed that the Communist nation’s distaste for decentralization won’t necessarily deter it from participating in the Metaverse, but the experience may be very different, similar to the way the internet looks different behind the Great Firewall.

China blocks foreign websites and controls political sensitive content.

Mario Stefanidis, vice president of research at Roundhill Investments, told The Wire China that it seems likely China will take a similar approach to Web3 trends,

“It will be much easier for China to oversee development of a local metaverse rather than allowing users to access the ‘global metaverse’ and spending significant resources censoring and blocking certain experiences.”

Nina Xiang, journalist and founder of Asian tech intelligence and data company China Money Network, added that the divide will be particularly noticeable between China’s metaverse and the U.S.

In an announcement for her new book, Parallel Metaverses: How the US, China and the Rest of the World Are Shaping Different Virtual Worlds, she wrote that “the materialization of the Metaverse will take place amid persistent US-China geopolitical and technological rivalry.”

“This means there may be greater divergence among the two countries’ metaverse ecosystems related to major players, content creation, infrastructure outlays, applications, product formats, laws and regulations, and investment opportunities.”

Tech giants pave the way to the Metaverse

Chinese companies are certainly very interested in the potential of the Metaverse. In the three months to end of November 2021, more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) was invested in Metaverse-related ventures. During all of 2020, only 2.1 billion yuan was invested, according to Chinese crypto venture capital company Sino Global.

In December Chinese search engine giant Baidu launched its own metaverse app XiRang. This means “Land of Hope” and focuses on digital infrastructure. However, Baidu vice president Ma Jie stressed that the app will not allow cryptocurrency or NFTs.

Chinese entertainment conglomerate Tencent ranks as the largest videogame company in the world, based on its investments. It announced plans to acquire VR hardware maker Black Shark in January this year and the company’s president Martin Lau also called the Metaverse a “real opportunity” in a recent earnings call. According to the Intro of the Metaverse report, Tencent does not need decentralized infrastructure in order to realize its vision for the metaverse. This is due to its market dominance.

“Tencent can theoretically achieve high interoperability without decentralized infrastructure because the Tencent ecosystem itself already covers most vertices in the game and tech services industry.”

According to analysis from local media publication IPRdaily, Tencent filed a total of 4,085 patent applications for virtual and augmented reality technology during 2020 and 2021. Six of the top ten most active companies in AR and VR patent applications were Chinese.

In China,3700 companies have applied for registration for Metaverse name… #meta #metaverse #china pic.twitter.com/nCj0EF9eeW

— Metaverse Planet (@metaverseplane) February 10, 2022

China’s challenges

However, China’s efforts in the Metaverse are still lagging behind, according to a Jan 27 analysis from Reuters. It cited “less investment by domestic tech giants,” and also pointed out that “industry-leading products like Meta’s Oculus virtual reality (VR) headsets are banned in China.”

Related: Shanghai includes metaverse in its development plan

User content generation is also one of the key pillars of the Metaverse, but is also notoriously difficult in China, given its stringent restrictions on expression. NewZoo suggested that companies such as Tencent will likely produce their own Metaverse content through “reusable game modes, live-ops and IP collaborations.”

Gaming is an essential part of the Metaverse bu also face stringent regulation from the Chinese government, which bans everything from strong violent content, to the depiction of anything that could be construed as “obscene.” During the past year, the government also started to impose restrictions for how long minors could spend playing games.

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Henry Hicks
Henry Hickshttps://nonfungibletalk.com
NFT and Crypto Enthusiast. Loves Travelling and Exploring the Metaverse!
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