Bethanie Ryder
May 23, 2022

‘Into the Chinaverse’: Looking ahead at China’s metaverse roadmap

Based on a report by innovation agency Fabernovel, China's journey into Web3 is here to stay with the estimated market size of the metaverse industry being US$8 trillion.

Baidu in the metaverse
Baidu in the metaverse

Fabernovel, the global innovation agency, has released its latest study 'Into the Chinaverse'—a deep dive into the reinvention of consumer scenarios through technology, how brands are using Web3 to capture Gen-Z China, and which Gen-Z startups to watch in the metaverse. 

It also explores how companies can better understand and navigate the metaverse to the best of their strategic potential, and how they can differentiate themselves within a vastly growing ecosystem. Here, Jing Daily spotlights the key takeaways from the report and the trends that are taking China’s Web3 by storm. 

China’s metaverse is here to stay 

The Meta wave has reached China. In 2021, 93 percent of the 500+ metaverse companies registered were named after the metaverse, while the estimated market size of the metaverse industry in China is $8 trillion, as reported by Morgan Stanley. IDC predicts that 37 million Chinese online users will have a virtual identity on metaverse platforms by 2025.

Despite this, the country is acknowledging the potential of the metaverse and what it can offer. In 2021, China’s 14th Five-Year-Plan specifically named blockchain, VR/AR, AI, and cloud computing as key to building China’s digital economy, while introducing the first metaverse association, the Metaverse Industry Committee. Additionally, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) plans to cultivate 3,000 startups dealing with the metaverse, blockchain, and AI.

The redefining of NFTs

Last year, crypto mining and trading were prohibited across China to prevent environmental damage, fraud, and money laundering. As a result of these restrictions, the report predicts that NFTs development will follow a cryptoless path in China, and NFTs will serve more as certificates of ownership for digital assets and IP protection. Additionally, the minting, publishing, sales, and transactions of NFTs will continue to be regulated in the future. 

Here, the purpose of NFTs has changed; they will act more as collectibles than financial products in China, with all financial NFT products regulated for licensed trading only. With this in mind, brands will have to rethink how their tokens can offer long-lasting value in order to appeal to consumers looking to invest in these virtual keepsakes. 

Unlocking experiences through multidimensional consumer journeys 

The study explores how businesses can utilize these metaversal opportunities to their advantage. One way in which they can do so is through e-commerce based experience optimization, such as virtual idol marketing and immersive shopping. Brands such as Dior, Meta Street Market, and Moncler have already caught onto this trend. Technological initiatives such as these are predicted to be a valuable method of unlocking luxury experiences through virtualization. 

The report proposes that the seamless online-to-offline experience that brands have previously strived for will transcend into Web3, where consumers will be searching for seamless real-to-virtual experiences through multidimensional consumer journeys. Brands should look forward to implementing communication strategies and objectives that serve all levels of consumer interaction, and prepare for new consumer behaviors to be uncovered that wouldn’t necessarily be observed in real life. 

Tech giants lead the way and starts-ups follow 

This preparation for an evolving perspective is already being anticipated by a number of Chinese tech giants, who are already embracing the Web2 to Web3 shift, including Alibaba, who launched Metahuman AYAYI in September 2021, and are now working towards elevating their e-commerce experience through digital collectibles and their Buy+ VR shopping experience. And Baidu, who launched its own version of the metaverse, Xi’Rang, which can be accessed via VR devices and allows users to create avatars and chat with others

Looking forward, China will host a series of next gen startups that are set to take over Web3, including social media platforms such as Bud and Vyou, alongside NFT/blockchain specialists Hyperchain, Cocafe, and Animoca Brands. 

As these companies begin to gain widespread traction, the Chinaverse is setting up its title as one of the globe’s most comprehensive, and exciting, Web3 economies. 

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