Seoul, South Korea Skyline

South Korea to invest $187M in a national metaverse ecosystem

South Korea is seeking to get an edge over its global peers in metaverse development by investing in a national metaverse ecosystem. The country’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning has pledged to invest KRW223.7 billion (US$186.7 million) in the project and to work on attracting the best developer talent.

The ecosystem will be known as “Expanded Virtual World,” the ministry’s latest announcement revealed. It will be used as a platform for expanding the virtual growth of various sectors, including education and media.

Aside from the funds, the ministry will also endeavor to attract the best talent to its metaverse ecosystem. It will conduct hackathons and other developer contests as well as host community-oriented creative activities.

“It is important to create a world-class metaverse ecosystem as the starting point to intensively foster a new hyper-connected industry,” said the ministry’s Head of Communication Park Yungyu in a translated statement.

The metaverse is one of the new frontiers that South Korea is betting on as part of its Digital New Deal, an initiative by the government to lay the foundation for a digital economy that will promote economic growth and innovation. Together with the Green New Deal, which focuses on making Korea a net-zero emissions country, the initiative will receive $62 billion from the government over the next four years.

The Korean government estimates that the metaverse will create over 1.5 million jobs, and it plans to produce over 40,000 professionals and at least 200 companies to occupy these positions. 

In November 2021, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it was aiming to become the first city to enter the metaverse.

Through its “Metaverse Seoul” project, the country’s capital is working on a virtual communication ecosystem for all its municipalities and in the near future. Seoul residents will be able to put on virtual reality headsets to meet city officials for virtual consultations.

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