China’s Zhejiang province, the home province of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, established a metaverse industry association on Saturday. The decision follows the establishment of a similar group in the city of Beijing earlier this month and comes amid heightened competition for space among China’s regional governments.
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- The establishment of the association by the Zhejiang authorities follows plans released by the province in December to build a 200 billion yuan (US$28 billion) metaverse industry by the end of 2025.
- The Zhejiang Province Metaverse Association, the Zhejiang Provincial Metaverse Industry Association, is a non-profit organization supervised by the provincial government. The group will mediate between companies and governments in metaverse cooperations, provide metaverse-related consulting and training, and help develop industry standards, according to an announcement Monday by the Zhejiang Digital Economy Society, one of the association’s founders. .
- The association’s founding members also include subsidiaries of China’s state-owned telecommunications giant China Mobile and Chinese Internet technology corporation NetEase, which has launched its own metaverse initiatives in recent years.
- Some 91 Zhejiang-based metaverse companies have joined the association as members, and the group plans to expand that number to 200 within two years.
- The association listed healthcare, e-commerce, education, tourism, and entertainment among the top sectors for metaverse adoption, and will establish committees dedicated to these areas.
- The association is headquartered in the city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, known for its academic institutions and high-tech industrial parks. The city is also home to the headquarters of the Alibaba Group and the research and development centers of major Chinese technology companies such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo.
- In May, Hangzhou issued policies to offer cash benefits to metaverse companies setting up shop in the city, as metaverse competition in China accelerated.
- China’s capital Beijing broke ground on its metaverse industrial innovation center on July 7 and has more than 40 member companies. The cities of Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Hefei have also launched similar metaverse organizations since the beginning of the year.
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