Shanghai doubling down on metaverse by incorporating it into its development strategy

The metaverse, a technology that has gotten a lot of attention this year because of its potential to become the next generation of the internet, is getting serious in China’s largest city. 

This year, Chinese government departments and local governments presented five-year development plans to illustrate how they intend to carry out the central government’s five-year plan, which was released in March. 

Shanghai’s release on Thursday included the first reference of the metaverse. Human interactions are extended to a virtual world of three-dimensional avatars with this technology. 

According to the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology’s five-year strategy for growing the electronic information sector, the metaverse is one of four frontiers for investigation. 

The document Encouraged the use of the metaverse in sectors such as public services, commercial offices, social entertainment, industrial manufacturing, production safety, and electronic gaming. 

The commission intends to invest more in underlying technologies such as sensors, real-time interaction, and blockchain research and development. 

There was no specified timescale or aim for metaverse research and development in the document. 

China’s newest five-year plan, unveiled in March, identified seven “frontier” technologies that the country would focus on as it strives for scientific and technology self-sufficiency. 

The metaverse has since become a catchphrase, with Facebook, the world’s largest social network, changing its name to Meta in October. Then, earlier this month, Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, predicted that most virtual meetings would be moved to the metaverse within the next two or three years. 

Baidu, based in Beijing, held what it claims to be China’s first metaverse conference this week. The purpose of the event was to announce the availability of Baidu’s metaverse app to developers. However, the app’s complete release will take six years. 

Aside from the broad metaverse buzz on Chinese social media, the Chinese state media has published various pieces on the subject, especially about the potential of scams. 

New laws on metaverse development are expected to follow after a year of prohibitions and increased regulation on many types of technology, including cryptocurrencies. 

Some facets of the metaverse’s worldwide expansion are linked to gaming and cryptocurrency products such as non-fungible tokens, all of which have been scrutinized more closely in China.  

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