A metaverse with Chinese characteristics is a clean and compliant metaverse

How will the Chinese metaverse evolve? Look at the letter “c”. Clean, censored, compliant, and encryption-free is the expert view.

The descriptions underscore the shadow cast by Chinese authorities who have previously hinted that they will have a heavy regulatory hand over how it develops – a shadow that some defenders of the Chinese metaverse fear will stunt its growth.

From Microsoft’s $69 billion plan to buy Activision from Facebook changing its identity to Meta Platforms Inc, much of the tech world is jumping to build what many hope will be the web’s next technology: immersive digital worlds that reproduce many elements of real life.

Experts say China’s metaverse efforts lag behind countries such as the United States and South Korea, citing less funding from domestic tech giants. Industry-leading products like Meta’s Oculus digital reality (VR) headsets are banned in China, and the gradual improvement in the commitment of domestically-made digital reality headsets means that China no longer has more than to see a VR platform or metaverse gain significant recognition.

But curiosity began to mount. Last year, more than 1,000 companies, including heavyweights such as Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings Ltd, used around 10,000 metaverse-related symbols, according to trade watchdog Tianyancha.

Baidu hit a new high in December with the launch of “XiRang”, described as China’s first metaverse platform, although it has been widely criticized for failing to provide high-level immersive expertise. Baidu says its app is a work in progress.

Start-ups also benefit from additional funding. In the three months to the end of November, more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) was invested in metaverse-related businesses, surpassing the 2.1 billion yuan in funding that Chinese virtual reality and associated industries attracted for the whole of 2020, in line with Sino Global, a China-focused crypto venture capital agency.

“Investors and venture capitalists who hadn’t spoken to me in years suddenly texted – asking if I wanted to go eat and talk. They all want to talk about metaverse,” said Beijing-based Pan Bohang, whose startup plans to launch a VR social gaming platform.

A regulated area

Experts say the infancy of China’s metaverse leaves Beijing plenty of room to co-opt its upgrade, not least because the current metaverse buzz has coincided with an unprecedented regulatory crackdown on technology and other industries.

“Traditional Chinese Internet companies developed first, then were regulated. Industries like the Metaverse will be regulated as they are built,” said Du Zhengping, head of the state-backed China Mobile Communications Association’s Metaverse Trade Committee, which was formed in October.

But China’s authoritarian method is at odds with the way the metaverse is being created in different parts of the world where customers are drawn to new ways of expressing themselves, and that will stifle progress, says Eloi Gerard, an entrepreneur VR who worked in China for 10 years before recently moving to Los Angeles.

“The metaverse is already a place where you have religious groups, LGBT movements, coming together all over the world and using the virtual world to share ideas, that’s what people are doing on VRChat right now. . that’s crazy progressive and liberal,” he said. mentioned, referring to a popular San Francisco-based VR platform.

“The idea of ​​the metaverse is that you move between virtual worlds…it immediately goes against the idea of ​​one party, one voice, one vision.”

Experts also say gambling – seen as the gateway technology to the metaverse – is tightly regulated in China.

Games must be federally licensed, and while fighting video games are allowed, solid violent content such as the depiction of blood and dead bodies is prohibited, as is anything that can be construed as obscene. As part of their ongoing regulatory crackdown, authorities have also sought to curb underage gambling in addition to the extreme adulation of celebrities and money.

Gaming giants such as Tencent and NetEase Inc were quick to publicly state that they would adhere to all guidelines while creating metaverse options.

Attacking the authorities

The long arm of the federal government also seems set to make itself felt in different ways. An influential app, Xuexi Qiangguo, who has to study for many Communist Party cadres, published an article in November that mentioned that the metaverse should be used to improve the level of compulsory ideological education courses for students.

At a January assembly of Beijing’s municipal political advisory body that mentioned improving the metaverse, proposals included a registration system for metaverse communities aimed at preventing them from influencing public opinion in the sense broad and to inflict financial or currency shocks, according to a state media report.

And while cryptocurrencies have become a defining feature of many western metaverse worlds, they are notably absent from the Chinese metaverse as they have been banned by Beijing. Instead, the various types of Chinese digital fees already in use, much like the central government digital yuan, will seemingly take their place.

Despite the various possible restrictions, some entrepreneurs claim that the Chinese metaverse will simply thrive on the willingness of Chinese customers to seek out new types of online entertainment.

Nikk Mitchell, whose company is in talks about metaverse projects based primarily on Chinese tales that could play roles reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy and conventional costumes, is one such proponent, noting progress in eyewear. Home VR and content.

When Chinese customers are ready to showcase this metaverse-related technology another time, “then there will be mass adoption at a level that I don’t think will happen in the West as quickly,” he said.

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