Shanghai Aims to Generate $6.9B Annually with Web3 Tourism Projects
Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial capital, expects to generate $6.9 billion in annual revenue by 2025 from its culture and tourism metaverse projects. The city plans to launch around three dozen metaverse projects in two years, leveraging web3 technology to promote tourism and cultural activities.
Shanghai Aims to Create Thirty Culture and Tourism Metaverse Projects
Shanghai aims to build thirty culture and tourism metaverse projects based on virtual performances, digital artwork, and smart tourism by the end of 2025. The metaverse technology will be integrated into the city’s real-world tourist attractions, enabling visitors to interact with the sites through augmented reality and have avatars as tourist guides.
As part of the plan, museums, art galleries, and commercial blocks in the city will be encouraged to apply virtual reality technologies such as XR, autostereoscopy, holographic projection, and smart sensing equipment to present immersive cultural and tourism experiences for visitors.
Furthermore, interactive tour routes featuring a mixture of virtual and real-life elements will be developed at historical conservation zones and blocks, the waterfront of the Suzhou Creek and Huangpu River, and smart tour guide services.
Shanghai plans to promote the development of digital artwork on blockchains, explore the integration of artwork with video games, and support metaverse entertainment businesses. The city lists blockchain, extended reality, and artificial intelligence among the key technologies for metaverse development.
Several Chinese cities and provinces, including Nanjing, Zhengzhou, and Hangzhou, have also released plans or policies this year for metaverse developments. Additionally, Chinese policymakers are exploring metaverse use cases in public services and administration.
Fang Shizhong, director general of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, said that Shanghai’s giant cultural and tourism consumption market scale, leading digital infrastructure advantage, rich cultural and tourism application scenes, as well as massive content innovation resources provide a “fertile soil for the cultivation of culture and tourism metaverse new track.”
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Shanghai Outlines Metaverse as Key Technology for Economic Growth
Shanghai’s new metaverse ambitions come as the city had previously identified metaverse as one of three “new tracks” for economic development. In July 2022, the city said it aims to cultivate its metaverse-related industry to a total value of $52 billion by the end of 2025 with a $1.4 billion metaverse industrial fund.
Earlier this year, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization also announced a pilot program to turn twenty urban locations into “major metaverse application scenarios.” These locations will allow citizens to use digital tools in different ways.
China’s Ministry of Education recently released a research paper that explored metaverse use cases such as virtual classrooms and storing student qualifications on-chain as non-fungible tokens.
Aside from Shanghai, other Chinese cities have also announced ambitious plans for the metaverse. In August last year, China’s capital Beijing said it was looking to develop a $7.5 billion virtual human industry in the following three years using Web3 technology.
Tech Giants Shift Focus Away From Metaverse as Interest Dwindles
Several major tech companies that doubled down on the metaverse last year amid the frenzy have slowed down their metaverse push as of late. In March, entertainment giant Disney said it aims to eliminate its metaverse division as part of broader layoffs that will impact as many as 7,000 employees.
Likewise, Microsoft discontinued its Industrial Metaverse Core team this year, a four-month-old project aimed to encourage the use of the metaverse in industrial environments. The tech giant also laid off all employees working on the project, which amounts to about 100 people.
The world’s largest video games company Tencent will also disband its XR (extended reality) department, ending its short-lived adventure into the metaverse, according to a report from Chinese news outlet 36KR.
The shift came as user interest in metaverse platforms has sharply declined over the past few months. According to data aggregator DappRadar, the Ethereum-based virtual world Decentraland had 467 “active users” in the past 24 hours, while competitor The Sandbox had 265 “active users.”
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