Specifically for the construction of virtual reality platforms, education, and development of VR/AR and holographic technologies, and to help educate and train 40,000 Metaverse professionals in South Korea, and promote more than 200 companies operating in the Metaverse field.
In the follow-up, the South Korean government will continue to invest about 8.7 billion US dollars in the development of various technologies from artificial intelligence to 6G to virtual worlds.
The South Korean government plans to create nearly 2 million new jobs through the investment and make South Korea the fifth largest Metaverse market in the world by 2026.
The plan was initially led by former South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and after the presidential change, the new President Yoon Sek-yue continued the plan:
Of the 110 “national missions” announced recently, about 10 are related to the Metaverse. In this regard, Sangkyun Kim, a professor at Kyung Hee University, said:
The Metaverse is a topic that both past and current presidents consider important. The Yin Xiyue government plans to revitalize the ecosystem by enacting Metaverse-related laws and developing Metaverse services that support economic activities.
Tech journalist and author of Parallel Virtual Worlds Nina Xiang also said:
South Korea is the most active and determined government in promoting the development of virtual worlds, and no other Asian country currently has a virtual world project similar to the South Korean government in scale and scope.
And South Korea’s strong hardware industry, dominated by Samsung and other semiconductor manufacturers, also makes South Korea’s virtual world dream more realistic:
By far, South Korea’s biggest export is semiconductors, which will account for nearly 17% of South Korea’s exports in 2020.
It is based on the accumulation of a large number of underlying technologies that South Korea has been able to maintain its sensitivity to the Metaverse: as the capital of South Korea, Seoul has already begun to act.
02 Actions of the Seoul government
On May 5th, the Seoul Metropolitan Government participated in the digital technology exchange event “Future Compute2022” held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology online, and introduced the “Metaverse Seoul” plan, which was also the only local government policy introduced at this event. .
In order to provide citizens with an early experience of “Metaverse Seoul”, an autonomous platform based on cutting-edge technology, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is the first to launch a pilot service “Metaverse Seoul City Hall”.
Users can open the mobile app and create a virtual avatar to enter the 3D virtual Seoul City Hall and the mayor’s office. They can also use the platform for collecting opinions from citizens to make suggestions to the city government about Seoul’s municipal administration.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to solicit opinions from citizens freely in the “Metaverse Seoul City Hall” to find out the inadequacies of the platform operation, so as to improve the “Metaverse Seoul” project officially launched this year, Park Jongsoo, Smart City Policy Officer of Seoul City express:
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is promoting the “Metaverse Seoul” plan, which aims to use these good digital resources to actively respond to the new needs of citizens in the digital age and provide better services.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has begun to build a Metaverse administrative service ecosystem in three stages in all business areas of the city government, including economy, culture, tourism, education, and petition, and strives to complete the construction of “Metaverse Seoul” by the end of this year.
In the field of cultural tourism, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create a “virtual tourism zone” that includes major tourist attractions in Seoul, such as Gwanghwamun Square, Deoksugung Palace, and Namdaemun Market, and reproduce the disappeared historical resources such as Donuimun Gate.
In 2023, the city government hopes that citizens can handle civil complaints and consult government affairs in “Metaverse Seoul”, and “Metaverse 120 Center” is the key to the realization of this plan.
At present, citizens need to visit the petition room in the city government office building to enjoy petition and consultation services, but after the completion of the “Metaverse 120 Center”, citizens can easily communicate with virtual civil servants in the Metaverse.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that in the future, the scope of application of “Metaverse Seoul” will be expanded to all business areas of the city government, overcoming the limitations of time, space and language to provide public services and improve the efficiency of civil servants.
The ultimate goal of the Seoul Metropolitan Government is to apply Metaverse technology in all policy fields such as economy, culture, and education by 2026, and eventually become a world-leading smart city.
Park Jongsoo, Seoul Metropolitan Smart City Policy Officer, said:
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will combine public needs and private technology to open up the new continent of “Metaverse Seoul”, create “Metaverse Seoul” that can be enjoyed by men, women, children and children, and develop Seoul into a truly inclusive smart city.
However, although there is a certain first-mover advantage in terms of policy and technology, it does not mean that the development of the Korean Metaverse will be smooth sailing.
03 Common problems faced by countries
As early as 2019, the South Korean government announced plans to build Busan, a large port city in southern South Korea, into a “blockchain city.”
By relaxing some strict crypto regulations and creating a sandbox for industry players to test new technologies, the government hopes to make the country’s second-largest city a hotbed of crypto innovation.
Yet despite South Korea’s efforts, the results so far have been less than satisfactory.
A 2020 report by the Busan Institute indicated that the vast majority of companies in Busan have no plans to integrate blockchain technology into their business, with 62% of the companies surveyed saying they know nothing about it.
In the face of the Metaverse, a broader concept that involves technology, the level of understanding at the enterprise level will undoubtedly determine the implementation of government policies – this is also the primary problem that other governments must solve when entering the virtual world.
In addition, at the policy supervision level, while mobilizing the enthusiasm of enterprises to participate in the layout of the Metaverse, how to prevent speculation and speculation based on the concept of the Metaverse, so as to ensure the stable operation of the economy and finance, is also worthy of attention.
As an important component of Web3 and Metaverse development, the huge volatility of cryptocurrencies and NFTs has repeatedly demonstrated their disruption to financial stability:
The cryptocurrency price crash in May is the latest example, and the economic volatility experienced by El Salvador, a European country that made bitcoin legal tender, also demonstrates the consequences of being at the forefront of new technologies and subject to the associated risks.
While it depends on how different countries handle it legally, governments that participate in the Metaverse inevitably face the risks hidden in cryptocurrencies.
In addition, the risks of content and privacy regulation are also worth noting.
The UK-based Institute of Engineering and Technology released a report in April outlining its concerns about the proliferation of illegal content in virtual worlds.
The report cites a survey that found that two-thirds of parents do not understand how virtual worlds work or what content their children are accessing. Therefore, in the regulation of content, the government assumes an important responsibility.
While Meta envisions a Metaverse where people can socialize in a digital world through avatars, this novel digital experience still faces a variety of problems.
At present, the regulatory policies of various countries are relatively lagging behind. Yugal Joshi, a partner at the research firm Everest Group, said in an interview:
A very interesting phenomenon is that the current related policies of the Metaverse are mainly driven by initiatives and trends driven by the private sector and big technology, and the government has not done much.
But while these things are happening piecemeal, I believe that governments will gradually start to take this more seriously because it is a platform for people to come together. Anything that brings people together will interest the government.
As one of the most advanced countries in the current layout of the Metaverse, South Korea has planned to establish an institution to unite different ministries.
This department will be used to address corporate governance, financial regulation, data protection, illegal conduct management and intellectual property protection in the Metaverse. However, YugalJoshi also said:
While it looks like South Korea’s Metaverse program is expanding, no country currently has a clear first-mover advantage.
Can South Korea’s Metaverse plan be fully implemented, and what effect will it achieve? Will there be rising stars in the development of the Metaverse?
All the answers, Xiaolan chose to give time.
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