COMMENT While Meta has been hemorrhaging billions trying to bring CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse to life with little to show for it, China has decided it too will take a crack at the virtual-reality concept.
This week reports emerged in China’s state-owned Shanghai Securities Journal that some of the nation’s most powerful tech companies have joined forces to form the “Joint Research Institute of Metaverse and Virtual-Real Interaction” in Shanghai.
Participating companies include Tencent, which owns a slice of most large game-makers in China; Huawei, the comms giant which is famously a favorite target of US sanctions; and Epic Games, of which Tencent owns 40 percent.
Also in the mix is China Mobile’s Migu as well as top universities including Fudan, Peking, Renmin, Zhejiang, and Nanjing, which have been named the “the research co-construction units for the institute,” Beijing news outlet Pandaily reported.
Professor Zhao Xing, from the Big Data Research Institute of Fudan University and the National Intelligent Evaluation and Governance Experimental Base, has been hired as dean.
According to Shanghai Securities Journal, Zhao said that “Shanghai has valuable experience in digital transformation and construction, as well as strong support from metaverse talents, technology, industry, urban environment, and consumption capacity, which constitute the core reasons for the establishment of the Institute in Shanghai.”
China is now on its 14th “Five-Year Plan for Digital Economy Development” as of January, which has resulted in “new digital formats” being “laid out all over the country,” Pandaily said, with the metaverse “one of the most important emerging growth points.” Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, and more are all said to have launched metaverse development policies of their own.