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Shanghai Includes Metaverse in Its Five-Year Development Plan

By Julius Chen
Jan. 11, 2022 updated 06:34

Shanghai, China's largest city, is also determined to step up its investment in the field, as the metaverse is gaining popularity worldwide.

In its five-year development plan, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information announced it would strengthen the research and development of metaverse core technologies and promote systematic virtual content construction.

The document also called for "encouraging the application of the metaverse in diverse fields such as public services, business offices, social entertainment, industrial manufacturing, production safety, and electronic games."=

Although it did not specify a timeline or a goal for the development of the metaverse, the plan was still exciting for metaverse's proponents since it indicated that the metaverse is being taken seriously by the local government as part of next-generation technology along with wide-bandgap semiconductors, quantum communication, and 6G technology.

In 2021, metaverse became a buzzword, especially after tech giant Facebook changed its name to Meta. The boom has also affected China's gaming and tech industries, with almost every major gaming company and tech giant investing in the metaverse concept. NetEase acquired 10% stakes of a start-up that focuses on ultra-realistic virtual humans and the metaverse fashion scene, while Baidu launched its metaverse product Xirang. Zhangjiajie, a famous national park in China, has even unveiled that it will become the world’s first metaverse R&D center at a scenic spot.

The craze quickly raised concerns in state-owned media such as The People's Daily, which asked whether the metaverse would live up to its advertised ideal and if it was likely to generate a flood of investment scams.