China is now taking the Metaverse for a big leap. The project is based on the Beijing Urban Sub-Center Metaverse Innovation and Development Action Plan (2022- 2024), which was published in August 2022. The Chinese capital’s innovation plan stipulates that all urban districts should increasingly promote industries and companies that have a connection to the Metaverse. They are to develop the necessary technological infrastructure and promote the application of technology in various fields, including education and tourism, film and television entertainment, culture, medicine and care, smart city, and smart retail. All counties are required to provide the necessary financial and human resources.
The plan is as comprehensive as it is detailed, a kind of all-around approach. Through the networking of think tanks, key companies and government agencies, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, 5G and Information Security are to be further researched, organized and linked to relevant real economy industrial action plans at national and local levels. Metaverse-relevant technologies such as graphics engines, simulation models, human-computer interaction, and new displays should be promoted, as should camera array scanning, light-field imaging, or dynamic 3D reconstruction. One goal is to build four major industry chains for digital design, digital people, mixed reality, and digital art. The ultimate goal is to create a complete Metaverse ecosystem, with platforms playing a big role.
The Metaverse Innovation and Development Action Plan also purports to develop stable and credible digital asset trading services, considering the rights and interests of stakeholders. The security of digital assets, encryption methods and data protection are at the forefront, and technologies such as security chips, zero-trust networks, trusted computing and quantum communications are to be researched and improved for this purpose. Security and trust are also to be ensured by new rules for digital identity analysis in virtual space.
The mammoth project will be implemented by traditional units such as the municipal offices or the system for promoting industrial investment in the digital economy. In addition, there are newly created organizational units such as the Metaverse Industry Promotion Strategic Decision-Making Advisory Committee or the Metaverse Application Innovation Center. Beijing so far established more than 100 Metaverse enterprises, created about 30 Metaverse-type application scenarios, and established the first Metaverse-related standards.
Beijing’s great leap into the Metaverse opens up completely new business opportunities for foreign enterprises. Examples of Metaverse business models abound in China. They range from demo and sales interactions in platform-based virtual stores, showrooms or trade fairs, the licensing and rental of purely virtual products and services for training and education purposes or cloud tourism, to avatar-supported worlds of experience, virtual market research for supermarkets, procurement in virtual shopping environments and the operation and maintenance of industrial plants using virtual twins. The Chinese metaverse is also of interest to Western brands looking to reposition themselves within China’s public good-oriented policies – food brands, for example, via food safety.