25. September 2023
– 1 von 4 Insights
In recent years, the development of the metaverse in China has gained significant momentum, with the concept attracting wide attention and investment across various industries. China also has seen a surge in the adoption and development of metaverse technologies, driven by factors including advances in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and high-speed Internet infrastructure. A key driver of the metaverse in China is the gaming industry.
China has a huge gaming market, and game developers have been exploring the integration of metaverse elements into their products. Companies have been investing in the development of metaverse-related technologies and platforms. Some popular games have already incorporated metaverse elements to enhance user engagement and monetization.
The Chinese government is obviously standing behind all such development, and wants to encourage it further. On August 29, 2023, several ministries at the national level led by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (“MIIT”) rolled out the Three-Year Action Plan for Innovative Development of the Metaverse Industry (2023-2025) (“Action Plan”), which substantiates the envisaged support and efforts from Beijing. The Action Plan acknowledges the fact that a new round of scientific and technological transformation is deepening and evolving, the global meta-universe industry is accelerating the development, and countries are continuing to strengthen policy support and resource input. It provides for a fairly comprehensive policy framework with specific measures to better position the country in this global race. Below are some key highlights that may be of interest to international companies.
The long-term goal of this Action Plan is to achieve major breakthroughs in key core technologies of the metaverse, and to create a world leading metaverse industrial ecosystem. Rather than a pure consumer economy, the country aims to build a mature industrial meta-universe to create a new growth model for manufacturing, where the virtual and the real are mutually reinforcing. A ubiquitous, universal and seamless meta-universe space is supposed to be built to facilitate a general leap in human production and living styles. At the same time, a safe and efficient meta-universe governance system is to be built to ensure a healthy and sustainable industrial development environment, indicating that metaverse could also become an agenda item on the desk of the country’s legislators.
More specifically, the Action Plan addresses the below short-term goals to be achieved before 2025, namely
On the technology side, the below will become the country’s focus in the coming 2-3 years, namely
One China-specific feature of the Action Plan is its special focus on the so-called “industrial metaverse”. It states that the metaverse shall be used to empower manufacturing, particularly in the below three areas.
The above plan will bring about improvements in efficiency, decision-making, and collaboration in China’s manufacturing competence through virtualization, simulation, and real-time data utilization. No doubt this is part of China’s overall plan to further position itself as the world’s manufacturing center in the future.
As far as the international business community is concerned, the positive signal under this Action Plan is that the ambition does not appear to be purely a closed-door game. At the end of the paper, it is stated that the country will deeply participate in the formulation of international governance rules and standards for the metaverse, and will promote the establishment of a multilateral, democratic and transparent international metaverse governance system by combining our country's ideas on governance. More international exchanges are expected as the plan also stresses the need to bridge international metaverse governance rules with domestic ones, and to make Chinese metaverse companies “more international”. In this regard, China is still looking to strengthen exchange and cooperation with the outside world to get more innovative resources and talents including the market. We foresee more opportunities will arise in those fields where foreign companies have its strength like technology and business applications, which may emerge not only in B2C industries like gaming, entertainment, retail, education, healthcare, and tourism, but also in the industrial sector, as highlighted in this Action Plan. Key trends include integration with artificial intelligence (AI), VR hardware development, and the emergence of digital assets and virtual economies.
On the other hand, the complicated regulatory environment in China will become another challenge that foreign companies need to consider before planning their China metaverse adventure. Although regulatory related concerns are not the focus of the Action Plan, existing hot topics such as privacy, data export restrictions and regulation of artificial intelligence will also become relevant and need to be carefully assessed.
15. September 2023
von mehreren Autoren
15. September 2023
von Philipp Koehler
19. September 2023