The race for the metaverse is on

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The metaverse – a cyber world in which virtual and physical realities merge – is “the next big thing” after the mobile internet. It offers a significantly expanded framework for decentralized, collaborative and interoperable business models as well as for interaction in general.

For example, the metaverse opens up the possibility of a more immersive learning experience in education, the military, medicine, research and other areas. It can create a more immersive virtual shopping experience with more complex “products”, significantly expanding the reach of retail. Virtual events could present more integrated and attractive offers. On the one hand, companies could improve collaboration and employee engagement through virtually expanded workspaces; and on the other hand, they could significantly expand their digital business. Shifted into the metaverse, social media could clearly expand the interaction of its participants.

China wants to be a leader in the pioneering metaverse market. Accordingly, Chinese local governments and state-sponsored institutions are investing heavily in metaverse companies. One of the many government initiatives is the “Metaverse Industry Committee” founded by the state-owned telecommunications company China Mobile in October 2021, which aims to promote the “healthy”, “orderly” and “sustainable” development of the metaverse. The 17 companies already admitted are to discuss new rules, guidelines and projects within the committee.

Hoping to position themselves at the forefront of such a promising market, China’s major internet companies such as Tencent, the Alibaba Group and Baidu have already registered trademarks related to the metaverse in recent months. In China alone, the metaverse could grow into an 8 trillion dollar industry in the future, according to Morgan Stanley.

According to estimates by Gartner, around 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026 in order to work, educate themselves, shop, use social media, communicate or otherwise entertain themselves (games, etc.). Accordingly, Western tech giants such as Facebook parent company Meta and Microsoft are said to have already made huge investments in the development of relevant technologies. Several technologies such as augmented reality (AR), AR cloud, IoT, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), head-mounted displays (HMDs) and spatial technologies as well as trends such as flexible working methods are converging in the hyper-realistic virtual worlds.

Cecilia Atristain, Market Intelligence Senior Expert