Metaverse in China: Investors and tech leaders said they are prepared

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When explaining what “the metaverse” might look like, many Chinese investors and tech entrepreneurs refer to the Oasis — a fictional virtual world where people “can do anything, go anywhere” after donning a virtual reality headset: like, “surf a 50-foot monster wave in Hawaii, ski down the Pyramids, or climb Mount Everest with Batman,” as depicted by the protagonist Wade Watts in the 2018 science fiction movie “Ready Player One.”

A combination of “meta” (a prefix from Greek for “after” or “beyond”) and “universe,” the term metaverse was originated by US science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in 1992. It was a niche term favored by techies and gamers to illustrate the next iteration of the internet, an immersive, sensory 3D online experience. But in 2021, “metaverse” may have become the buzzword of the year, much thanks to tech companies like Roblox and Facebook (now Meta), as they paint a future in which people play games, shop, exercise, work, learn, and do other things in various virtual spaces. 

The concept caught on in China this year as well, with companies quick to invest in the metaverse. But the Chinese market has its own set of tech giants, internet culture, and regulatory norms. TechNode talked to several investors and tech companies in the metaverse-related fields, hoping to provide some clues on how China reacts to the popular concept.

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