In the “acceleration” of the Metaverse, policies have been intensively introduced in many places and industrial development has welcomed four major trends

The Metaverse has moved from concept to foreground, from technology-driven to capital intervention to policy support, and every step is indispensable.

First, the “popularity” of the Metaverse

The “popularity” of the Metaverse began on March 10, 2021, when Roblox, a Metaverse concept stock, was listed in the United States, and then the Metaverse began to enter people’s field of vision.

Giants at home and abroad have begun to enter, including “old” companies that participated in the research and development of VR, AR and other technologies in the early days of the Internet, such as Microsoft and Baidu, as well as rising stars who quickly occupied the concept of the Metaverse, such as NetEase and ByteDance.

In October 2021, Facebook announced that the company had changed its name to Meta and announced that it would invest $15 billion to support Metaverse content creation, which completely detonated the Metaverse. At this point, the concept of the Metaverse has swept the world.

According to the “Metaverse Scenario Application Exploration Report (2022)” released by Zero One Think Tank, the Metaverse industry is roughly divided into several levels: basic underlying technology, terminal entrance, interactive generation, and scenario application. At present, a complete Metaverse industry ecology has been initially established in China, and dozens of representative enterprises at all levels are rushing to the beach.

Second, “policy” follows

With the rapid development of the Metaverse industry, the relevant support policies of the state and various places are also speeding up to follow up to seize the first-mover advantage of the Metaverse. Since the beginning of this year, special policies and consultation drafts for the Metaverse industry have been intensively introduced, relevant policies in various places have been gradually refined, and some implementation plans have made detailed provisions on the introduction and cultivation of the Metaverse industry.

On January 12, 2022, the “14th Five-Year Plan for the Change and Development of the Digital Economy” clearly listed seven major industries such as cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, industrial Internet, blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality as key industries of the digital economy, although the “Metaverse” was not explicitly mentioned in the article, but the development of the digital economy laid the foundation for the layout of the Metaverse, and the key industries for development are also the content of the concept of the Metaverse.

Subsequently, some cities have mentioned the Metaverse in planning and government reports. Zhejiang Province seized the opportunity to lay out the development of “Metaverse” technology and industry in November 2021, and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Economic and Information Technology organized and held a symposium on the development of the “Metaverse” industry, taking the Metaverse as one of the layout areas of the key future industry pilot zone in Zhejiang Province in 2023.

According to the “Summary of China’s Metaverse Industry Policies (September 2022 Edition)” released by Zero One Think Tank, as of September 20, 2022, according to incomplete statistics from Zero One Think Tank, Wuhan, Hefei, Shanghai and other places have written “Metaverse” into the government work report for the new year. At present, 15 provincial-level (including municipalities directly under the central government, the same below) and 16 municipal-level units across the country have issued 65 policies that explicitly support the Metaverse industry.

1. National level: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference have mentioned it many times, but no clear policy has been issued for the time being

In January 2022, People’s Bank of China released the Fintech Development Plan (2022-2025), proposing to deeply integrate visual technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) with banking scenarios, and promote the upgrade of physical branches to multi-modal, immersive and interactive smart branches. On November 1, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Radio and Television, and the State General Administration of Sports issued a notice on the Action Plan for the Integrated Development of Virtual Reality and Industry Applications (2022-2026). Although the “Metaverse” is not explicitly mentioned, the integration of AR and MR technology and scenes is the soil for the development of the Metaverse.

2. Municipalities directly under the central government: Shanghai cultivates a new track of the Metaverse, and Beijing and Chongqing have issued special policies

At the municipal level, Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing have issued a total of 12 Metaverse-related policies. Among them, Shanghai has the largest number and the earliest, and at the end of 2021, it proposed “forward-looking research and development to strengthen the underlying core technology basic capabilities of the Metaverse”. In March this year, Beijing also released a special support plan for the Metaverse, and Chongqing followed suit, releasing the Action Plan for the Innovation and Development of the Metaverse Industry in Yubei District (2022-2024) in April.

3. Other provinces: Shandong and Jiangxi have strong determination, and central and western provinces have followed suit

At the provincial level (excluding municipalities directly under the central government), according to incomplete statistics from Zero One Think Tank, 12 provinces have issued 22 policies to explicitly support the development of the Metaverse industry, of which Jiangxi has issued 4 policies, the largest number, followed by Zhejiang and Shandong, each issuing 3 policies to support the development of the Metaverse industry. Zhejiang is also the first province to release relevant policies to lay out the Metaverse industry.

4. Key cities: Wuxi and Shenzhen are rushing ahead, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is ahead of schedule

According to incomplete statistics from Zero One Think Tank, a total of 16 city-level administrative units and relevant departments across the country have issued relevant plans or policies that clearly support the development of the Metaverse industry, with a total of 29. Among them, 7 cities have planned the Metaverse industry and written it into the government work report. Chengdu and Hangzhou Gongshu District took the lead in decomposing government work and refining responsible units; The other 5 regions have not yet formed specific development plans for the Metaverse industry.

5. Support policies continue to be introduced, and policies are gradually refined

After Zero One Intelligence released the “Summary of China’s Metaverse Industry Policies (September 2022 Edition)”, on September 21, the General Office of the People’s Government of Henan Province released the “Henan Province Metaverse Industry Development Action Plan (2022-2025)”. Among them, it is clear that by 2025, the development of the province’s Metaverse industry will begin to take shape, with the scale of core industries exceeding 30 billion yuan, driving the scale of related industries to exceed 100 billion yuan, and initially forming a Metaverse innovation leading area with important influence.

On October 8, the Office of the Shanghai Leading Group for Urban Digital Transformation officially issued the “Shanghai Manufacturing Digital Transformation Implementation Plan”. The “Implementation Plan” proposes that Shanghai will accelerate the innovative application of the industrial Metaverse. Accelerate the in-depth expansion and integration of digital technologies such as 5G, AI, AR/VR/MR, blockchain, and digital twins in the manufacturing field. Support the construction of intelligent manufacturing twin platforms based on integrated extended reality, multi-dimensional perception, real-time reverse modeling and other technologies to build a digital twin factory. Promote multi-party collaboration between production, education, research and application, jointly build more than 5 industrial digital innovation centers, and improve service functions such as mechanism research, technology integration, and achievement transformation.

On October 11, Hongkou District, Shanghai issued the Notice on Launching the Application of the Science and Technology Incubation Project (Metaverse) of Hongkou District Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Center in 2022. According to the notice, financial support of no more than 200,000 yuan will be given to science and technology incubation projects that have been approved.

On October 24, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology issued the Notice on Soliciting the Demand for Major Application Scenarios of the Metaverse in the City to “Unveil the List”. According to the notice, Shanghai will focus on commercial operations, classroom education, cultural tourism travel, brand entertainment, intelligent manufacturing, medical health, collaborative office, digital city and other major application scenarios under construction or planned in the city’s Metaverse field. The collection scenarios should focus on VR, AR, smart chips, digital assets, digital humans (application scenarios, development and design tools, etc.), digital scenarios (manufacturing, commerce and trade, medical care, culture and sports, social networking, exhibitions, logistics, new consumption and other industry-wide and all-field scenarios), and promote the realization of technology integration, industrial integration, data integration, and cross-level, cross-field, and cross-industry collaborative linkage. The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology said that the eligible projects will be given priority support in the special fund for the high-quality development of the city’s industry.

On November 1, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Radio and Television, and the State General Administration of Sports issued a notice on the Action Plan for the Integrated Development of Virtual Reality and Industry Applications (2022-2026). The Action Plan specifies the development goals: by 2026, the key technologies of three-dimensional and virtual and real integration immersive audio and video will be made breakthroughs, a new generation of humanized virtual reality terminal products will be continuously enriched, the industrial ecology will be further improved, and virtual reality will be applied on a large scale in important economic and social industries, forming a number of backbone enterprises and industrial clusters with strong international competitiveness, and creating an industrial development pattern in which technology, products, services and applications prosper together. By 2026, the overall scale of China’s virtual reality industry (including related hardware, software, applications, etc.) will exceed 350 billion yuan, and the sales of virtual reality terminals will exceed 25 million units, cultivate 100 backbone enterprises with strong innovation ability and industry influence, create 10 agglomeration areas with regional influence and lead the development of virtual reality ecology, and build 10 industrial public service platforms.

On November 3, the Wuhan Municipal People’s Government officially released the Wuhan Implementation Plan for Promoting the Innovation and Development of the Metaverse Industry (2022-2025). It mentioned that by 2025, we will strive to build more than 2 Metaverse industrial bases and more than 3 Metaverse key platforms at a high level, focus on key industries to create more than 50 typical application scenarios and projects of the Metaverse, cultivate and introduce more than 200 Metaverse innovation enterprises, and build a pilot area and core area for the coordinated development of China’s Metaverse innovation and development of innovation chain, industrial chain and value chain. However, it is worth noting that compared with the consultation draft released by Wuhan in August 2022, the content involving NFTs that has attracted certain attention in the society has been deleted in the official plan.

Third, the development of the Metaverse will show four major trends

At this stage, what must still be faced squarely is that compared with the concept explosion, the substantive output of the Metaverse is limited, and onlookers generally feel that “the thunder is loud and the rain is small”. Zero One Think Tank pointed out in the “Metaverse Scenario Application Exploration Report (2022)” that at this stage, the Metaverse presents the characteristics of concept-first, and the industrial application end is still in its infancy. In the future, the development of the Metaverse will show four major trends.

  • Four major status quo of Metaverse industry application

1. The concept is first, and the industrial application is relatively backward. The main reason why industrial application lags behind the concept is the insufficient level of development of Metaverse-related technology, and how to integrate the Metaverse into various industries also needs to be explored.

2. “Half-old and half-new” landing scene. In today’s highly digital world, almost all industries have entered the Metaverse. Therefore, the application of the Metaverse in the industry is not a question of “presence”, but a question of “degree”.

3. There are two ways to land the scene of the Metaverse. One is “industry + Metaverse”, that is, focusing on real physical scenarios and serving the production and consumption of the physical world. The other is “Metaverse + industry”, that is, based on virtual scenes, to create a mirror twin world.

4. There are differences in the Metaverse path of different industries. For highly digitized industries, such as games and social industries, the combination path is dominated by “Metaverse + industry”. Sectors that serve production and life, such as finance and tourism, will be dominated by “+ Metaverse”, and offline is still an important channel for obtaining and serving customers. For industries such as education and radio and television, the level of digitizability of content is high, so how to innovate the production and display of content is the key direction.

  • Metaverse industry application trends

1. The integration of multiple technologies will support the development of the industry. The Metaverse requires the integration of multiple technologies as the underlying infrastructure. However, the existence of the “barrel effect” requires that various technologies cannot have shortcomings, and technologies that are not sufficiently developed will usher in new growth points.

2. The importance of the user body is more prominent. For example, the user’s immersive experience has become the focus, and they have more autonomy in content creation and scene construction, and can even participate in the distribution of relevant benefits by “providing advice” for the platform and participating in the construction of the platform.

3. Digital collections have become an important way to monetize. The development cycle of the Metaverse is long, and how enterprises can find applications with monetization capabilities in the early stage of the Metaverse cannot be ignored. At present, from the perspective of landing scenarios, digital collections have the ability to monetize.

4. The development path at home and abroad will be different. From a technical point of view, China lags behind the international first-class level in Metaverse-related hardware and software, and there is a certain dependence on foreign technologies, such as chips, software engines, and VR equipment, in the process of domestic development of the Metaverse. However, China has a huge user group and high content consumption power, and will lead the international market in application innovation, scene exploration, and the number of users. Due to the severe crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China, the business model and ecological structure of the domestic Metaverse will be different from the international market.

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