Metaverse is a buzzword in the internet world that has been labeled as the next generation of the internet. Facebook has recently announced they will change their name to Meta Platforms Inc. to incorporate all elements of a real metaverse – an online virtual world of high technological means of communication. Metaverse has become a ‘new way’ of expressing yourself by immersing yourself inside a virtual world across the globe.
What is the metaverse?
“Metaverse is a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality and video where users “live” within a digital universe.”eu.usatoday.com
Metaverse is a connected ecosystem that allows users to interact. Users can work, play and stay connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around the world.
Hybrid world where online meets offline
Over the past two years, we have been used to living in a ‘hybrid world’ where online meets offline. Enhancing the physical world in the online space by leveraging technology has allowed users to feel closer and more connected. The pandemic has accelerated the interconnection of the online and offline world. An example of this is where you can virtually try furniture at home without going to the physical store, by dropping a piece of furniture in your home. The whole purpose of bridging the real physical experience with the online experience is to create a more connected society.
Metaverse in China
China is known to be at the forefront when it comes to technological advancement and innovation. Metaverse is yet to gain the same popularity as in the west and due to the government regulations, the future development of Metaverse is unsure. However, the interest has begun to rise and the internet giant Baidu has launched the first metaverse platform in China, called XiRang. This is an app that is under development and contains tourist sites and venues for virtual meetings. Currently, the platform can host 100 000 users at time. XiRang focuses on virtual meetings in well-known buildings and locations. You can access the platform through a smartphone or computer. You need to create an avatar and have a registered user at Baidu in order to use the metaverse.
Looking at the startup scene in China, there are growing investments in metaverse-related businesses. In only three months, from November 2021 to January 2022, more than 10 billion yuan was invested in metaverse-related ventures. In contrast, this is much more than investments done for VR technology. The future of metaverse in China will be shaped and regulated by the government, so the development is much relied upon what regulations are put in place.
One thing is certain, Chinese consumers love to try new forms of technology. Compared to many other countries, China has always shown its quick adoption of new forms of online entertainment. Generation Z is a perfect example of a ‘user group’ who are eager to adopt to new trends and technology. As long as the government lets startups leverage the power of meta, it is only a question of time when China will be leading the future of the metaverse.