The metaverse is the up-and-coming idea of combining “virtual reality and a digital second life.” 

Metaverses are virtual universes that enable mass virtual interactions. 

Chinese companies are taking initiative to enter the metaverse. From augmented reality (AR) to working remotely, here are some ways these companies are evolving.

  1. 1 Tencent

    Tencent is one of the biggest technology companies in China. The tech company owns WeChat, Kugou (China’s Spotify) and Tencent Meetings (China’s Zoom). 

    The company’s expertise in gaming and social networking makes it stand out from its competitors. WeChat alone has over 1 billion average monthly users. 

    The app also acquired Black Shark. Black Shark is a technology company focused on gaming-oriented mobile phones and software. 

    After Tencent’s acquisition, Black Shark is now changing its business model to invest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets. 

    A game page of LuoBuLeSi, China's Roblox. 
    The text reads "Xiao Luo's Adventures; Little body, big strength" (Xiǎo luō lìxiǎn jì xiǎo shēnbǎn dà lìliàng).

    As the number one game publisher in China, Tencent also published China’s version of Roblox called LuoBuLeSi. The online game platform lets users create and operate a virtual avatar. 

    Tencent has taken initiative to hire new developers for immersive games. The company is also collaborating with world-class game and user-generated platform companies. 

    Both factors make Tencent a strong contender for the metaverse.

  2. 2 Huawei

    The telecommunications giant company in China is the leading developer of 5G technology. 

    The company is looking to diversify its entrance into the metaverse. It has started to explore electric vehicle software as well. 

    Huawei's AR game
    The text reads, "Shougang Metaverse on January 11. Download Huawei AR map to enter"
    (Shǒugāng yuán yǔzhòu 1 yuè 11 rì xiàzài huáwèi AR dìtú jìnrù).

    In January, Huawei and Beijing Shougang Park collaborated to build a metaverse experience

    Users scanned a QR code to participate in AR group warfare games. This game was built around the industrial remains of Shougang Park.

  3. 3 Alibaba

    This Chinese company is well known for its e-commerce presence in the market. 

    But with the oversaturated e-commerce market in China, Alibaba started looking elsewhere.

    Alibaba is the third-largest cloud provider after Amazon and Microsoft. It started its metaverse journey in 2016 when it invested $790 million in AR Magic Leap

    The e-commerce giant has invested more than $1 billion into AR- and VR-related startups since then.

    Alibaba's Virtual Influencer, Beijing Olympics 2022: Dong Dong

    Recently, Alibaba launched a “virtual influencer,” Dong Dong, for the Winter Olympics in Beijing. 

    Dong Dong was also shown on Alibaba’s Taobao shopping app. The virtual influencer went on to promote items related to the Olympic Games on the shopping platform.

  4. 4 Baidu

    Baidu is well known for being a search giant in China. 

    Baidu is also recognized for its driverless car technology (Apollo), translations, and speech and image recognition. 

    All of the company’s technology can be attributed to their core strength: artificial intelligence.

    Last year, Baidu launched a Chinese-made metaverse called XiRang (希壤), also known as the “Land of Hope.” This virtual world holds up to 100,000 people at one time.

  5. 5 ByteDance

    ByteDance is the parent company of TikTok and its Chinese equivalent Douyin. 

    The company spent $1.4 billion on VR headset maker Pico to solidify its pursuit into the metaverse. 

    The 派对岛 Pàiduì Dǎo app, ByteDance's first metaverse app, which was released in January 2022.

    Its beta-tested metaverse app Party Island (派对岛, Pàiduì Dǎo) is a competitor of Baidu’s XiRang. 

    In this metaverse, users are able to chat virtually and schedule real-world events.

    As the latest buzzword in internet technology, the metaverse is still under development for many companies. 

    The early applications many of these companies have dived into are virtual reality, gaming and social media. 

    Keep a lookout, though, for how China’s metaverse could look different due to strict regulations on the technology sector in China.

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Julia Kim

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