shopping street in shanghai, China

Shanghai eyes nearly $7B from metaverse investment in culture, tourism sectors

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Shanghai, China’s economic hub and industrial nerve center, has published a blueprint detailing its intention to expand its investment in culture and tourism by leveraging blockchain technology.

Under the roadmap, administrators are looking to establish 30 metaverse projects in the tourism industry before the end of 2025. The metaverse project will encompass a replication of real-world landmarks in virtual worlds to provide tourists with a digitally immersive experience of Shanghai.

The projects will allow users to explore the city via augmented reality (AR) through virtual tour guides, virtual musical performances, and art under the umbrella of “smart tourism.” A section of the plan includes extending digital artwork into video games in an attempt to improve the interoperability of digital art from the metaverse to other sectors.

To achieve its lofty ambitions, the roadmap confirms that the city will build along the intersection of novel technologies like blockchainartificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing, and extended reality.

By the end of 2025, Shanghai’s administrators hope to rake in annual revenues of $6.9 billion while establishing a metaverse industrial fund worth $1.4 billion.

The new metaverse blueprint builds upon Shanghai’s 2022 five-year digital economy development plan, which confirmed an all-out government approach to exploring blockchain, including the development of metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT) sectors.

Other Chinese cities are also betting on the metaverse, with Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Zhengzhou being the latest to unveil their metaverse strategies. Nanjing’s three-year game plan revolves around attracting metaverse startups to build in the city to ultimately create an industry valuation of $2.7 billion.

Aside from their deployment in tourism, Chinese administrators have identified new use cases for the technology in education. China’s Ministry of Education published a paper exploring the use of virtual classrooms and NFTs to store educational qualifications.

Governments wade into metaverse development

While private enterprises are slowing down in metaverse development, governments are upping the ante with new funds for metaverse creators.

South Korea’s government has taken the lead, splurging over $200 million to support firms building in the metaverse. The latest injection of funds came in March when South Korea’s Ministry of Science announced that it would prop up 13 metaverse projects worth $51 million.

“South Korea stands as the most aggressive and determined government in pushing the development of the metaverse,” said tech journalist Nina Xiang. “Other Asian countries don’t have similar types of metaverse programs in both scale and scope as that of the South Korean government.

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