Sunny blue sky and flags of vietnam and south korea

South Korea ‘metaverse’ province eyes expansion in Vietnam

South Korea’s Gyeongbuk province wants to open new bilateral trade routes with Vietnam to improve trade and commerce between countries.

Lee Cheol-woo, the province’s governor, made the disclosure to the public after an official visit commemorating the 30th anniversary of Korea-Vietnam diplomatic ties. In a meeting at the Korea-Vietnam Economic Forum, Lee unveiled ambitious plans to use the metaverse to stimulate commercial activities between the nations.

“We plan to create a new level of region-led global metaverse innovation special zone to create a sustainable metaverse industrial ecosystem, such as establishing a world-class metaverse test bed, special regulations within the special zone, and residential conditions,” Lee said. “We will expand economic, cultural, trade, and people-to-people exchanges with Vietnam this year.”

Lee’s speech did not reveal the amount of investment that Gyeongbuk Province will be committing in the planned expansion to Vietnam, but experts believe that it could be in the region of a few million dollars. An expansion into Vietnam will be the first foray of a state-backed metaverse project to be used outside South Korea.

Gyeongbuk has earned the title of being the metaverse capital of South Korea following the government’s tax breaks and regulatory exemptions that firms building in the metaverse received. In June, the province pledged to invest KRW18 billion ($13.8 million) to “establish itself as a hub for metaverse innovation,” a move widely regarded by economists as having the potential to add 1 trillion won in value to the region.

Vietnam is no stranger to the metaverse, being home to Axie Infinity, one of the ecosystem’s top games leveraging non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Developed by Vietnam technology firm Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity has soared in popularity to reach 1 million users. A Deloitte report noted that the metaverse could generate as much as 9-17 billion per year in Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2035.

South Korea is the undisputed leader in virtual worlds

Metaverse development in South Korea is moving at breakneck speeds, with both private and government-backed endeavors making giant strides. Fumio Kishida-led government has pledged $185 million to support the growth of metaverse-related industries after sinking funds to develop a national metaverse ecosystem.

The country’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) revealed an ethical roadmap for the metaverse hinged on the principles of fairness, autonomy, reciprocity, respect for privacy, and inclusiveness. MSIT’s honest plan for virtual worlds was a collaborative effort from 12 experts in engineering, law, ethics, and data protection working with a pool of over 2,500 respondents.

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