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China Unites Tech Titans Huawei, Tencent, Baidu to Forge Metaverse Standards, Aiming for Global Tech Dominance

In a strategic move, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has orchestrated a collaborative effort by assembling a dynamic working group comprising 60 experts. This group, which includes luminaries from major technology firms, is tasked with crafting comprehensive standards for the burgeoning metaverse sector.

Published by the MIIT on Friday, the list of participants reads like a who's who of China's tech landscape. Telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, gaming powerhouses Tencent Holdings and NetEase, the search and AI leader Baidu, fintech trailblazer Ant Group, and computer manufacturing stalwart Lenovo Group are among the notable contributors. Notably, Ant Group is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of the South China Morning Post.

The group's roster also features MIIT officials and researchers from prestigious institutions such as Peking University and Fudan University. This diverse assembly of expertise underscores the government's commitment to creating comprehensive and robust standards for the metaverse industry.

The MIIT's move to form this working group stems from a proposal in September, highlighting the need to "guide the healthy and orderly development of the metaverse industry through standard regulation." The regulator underscored the industry's potential ethical and security challenges, emphasizing the importance of addressing them proactively.

The working group's mandate includes "building and maintaining a system of metaverse industry standards," "promoting the standards," and "training talent." It is envisioned as a holistic approach to foster not only the growth of the metaverse industry within China but also to position Chinese companies as leaders in the global metaverse landscape.

Beyond domestic considerations, the MIIT has articulated its intention to "encourage local companies and institutions to deeply engage in international standard-setting activities." This underscores China's ambition to not only influence the trajectory of the metaverse industry within its borders but also actively contribute to shaping global standards.

The term "metaverse" has gained prominence globally in recent years, with major players like Facebook rebranding as Meta Platforms in 2021. Meta, Microsoft, and others established the Metaverse Standards Forum in 2022, a forum that includes prominent Chinese tech giants like Huawei and Tencent.

China's aspirations in the metaverse space extend beyond regulatory efforts. Five authorities, including the MIIT, jointly released a plan last year with the ambitious goal of nurturing at least three metaverse companies "with global influence" by 2025. This signals a broader strategy to not only regulate but also actively foster and propel the growth of the metaverse industry on a global scale.

Local governments are aligning with this vision, with Beijing's Tongzhou district actively working to incorporate over 100 metaverse-related firms by the end of the year. Similarly, Shanghai has initiated plans to establish government-backed and private funds dedicated to metaverse development. In late 2022, the first such fund raised an initial sum of 1 billion yuan (US$140 million).

China's meticulous approach, bringing together industry giants and regulatory bodies, paints a comprehensive picture of its commitment to becoming a driving force in the metaverse landscape. The collaborative efforts of this working group are poised to not only set standards but also shape the future trajectory of the metaverse industry, both domestically and on the global stage.


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