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What Will China’s Metaverse Look Like?

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What Will China’s Metaverse Look Like?

Whether future or fad, one thing is certain: China will not miss out on shaping this new ecosystem.

The Diplomat,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Zuckerberg’s Meta won’t be the only game in town.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Visionary
  • Hot Topic


Experts and pundits are scrambling to define how the metaverse will affect people and society, socially, mentally and financially. You may be getting meta déjà vu – Second Life had a very similar bout of hype in the mid-2000s – and the current publicity is much the same. But this time, virtual worlds are more likely to boast widespread adoption all over the world, and China won’t be left out. In this article from The Diplomat, Yi Jing Fly and Laura Grünberg describe the future of a metaverse with Chinese characteristics.


Chinese companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, have begun launching metaverse ventures.

There’s been a flurry of activity toward constructing the metaverse, with big tech companies building relevant infrastructure, hardware and software, and at least 16,000 trademark applications filed so far. Much of this activity is happening where you’d expect, in Silicon Valley, but just as much of the bustle is taking place in China.

Chinese companies and local governments are already scrambling to take part in aspects of the metaverse, which might prove to be an $8 trillion market. Alibaba has been dabbling in augmented reality since 2016, and in 2019, Tencent paired with Roblox to develop a comprehensive metaverse portfolio that includes elements of cloud computing, gaming and social network elements. ByteDance has partnered with Pico, a headset company, and Baidu cast its hat in the ring with a new virtual world called XiRang.

Local Chinese governments are encouraging metaverse development.

So far, ...

About the Authors

Yi Jing Fly works in brand strategy at Design Bridge. She is the author of “China Too Cool: Vernacular Innovations and Aesthetic Discontinuity of China.” Laura Grünberg offers consultancy for cross-border strategic communications mandates. 

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