China’s municipal government pushes metaverse plans after Shanghai city’s 5-year proposal

On August 23, the Chinese local government body announced the “Beijing Urban Sub-Center Metaverse Development and Innovation Action Plan (2022-2024)”.

Beijing Municipal Department of Tongzhou District released the Web3 innovation plan in accordance with the translation document. He noted, “In order to systematically promote the development of metaverse-related industries in the city’s sub-center, create an urban technological innovation high plateau with distinctive digital characteristics, and help Beijing build a city of benchmark for the digital economy, this action plan is specially formulated.

Previously, in July, the Shanghai city government had unveiled its plan to develop a 350 billion yuan (about $51 billion) metaverse industry by the end of 2025.

Integration of digital and real economy

Also this time around, the local body remarked that it will actively encourage innovation and growth of the Metaverse sector in the sub-center as well as the close coupling of the digital and physical economies. The statement also pointed out: “Strengthen the government’s comprehensive planning, build a solid foundation for the Metaverse industry digital infrastructure, build a systematic system of intellectual property protection, and encourage the creation of industry standards and consensus to multiple levels” as part of the scheme.

However, despite massive plans to promote the development of Web3, some of the fundamental concerns of government centralization remain. Be[In]Crypto previously pointed out that if China continues to ban private cryptocurrencies and pushes tougher regulations for NFTs, it sees a bright future in blockchain technology.

In fact, Web3, Metaverse, and NFT were seen as crucial parts of Shanghai’s five-year economic stimulus plan. Therefore, the new announcement also comes at a time when China’s growth forecasts have taken a hit and unemployment is at worrying levels. China’s GDP growth forecast for the year 2022 has been amended down by Goldman Sachs to 3.0% from 3.3%, and by Citi to 3.5% from 3.9% recently.

The metaverse as a recovery plan

On the contrary, despite many in the tech sector feeling the pinch of the uncertain global economy, which has led to layoffs and hiring freezes, the emerging metaverse industry is now driving a recruitment boom in China, a recent report noted.

Therefore, in particular, the plan also focuses on how the construction of secondary cities and the concentration of industrial development are closely related to the development of the metaverse. It notes: “Relying on cultural tourism areas, Grand Canal cultural belts and characteristic towns, etc., through comprehensive opening scenarios, it will stimulate enterprise development and industrial culture, forming a whole chain of attraction.”

That said, in March, about 4,000 Chinese companies had extended their presence in metaverse space. Last June, the Hang Seng China Metaverse Index was launched to track the performance of Chinese companies involved in metaverse activities.

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Melissa C. Keyes