China’s Metaverse plans: Decentralization not required

Experts say that China’s corner of the Metaverse is likely to evolve very differently to other international markets and that decentralized infrastructure may not be part of the game plan.

The Sino Metaverse seems likely to repeat what happened with the web. When the internet first went mainstream in the 1990s, many people theorized that it might accelerate democracy in China.

NewZoo’s 2021 trend report “Intro to the Metaverse” claimed that the Communist nation’s distaste for decentralization won’t necessarily deter it from participating in the Metaverse, but the experience may be very different, similar to the way the internet looks different behind the Great Firewall.

China filters politically sensitive content by stringently managing its local internet and blocking overseas websites.

Mario Stefanidis, vice president of research at Roundhill Investments, told The Wire China that it seems likely China will take a similar approach to Web3 trends,

“It will be much easier for China to oversee development of a local metaverse rather than allowing users to access the ‘global metaverse’ and spending significant resources censoring and blocking certain experiences.”

Nina Xiang, journalist and founder of Asian tech intelligence and data company China Money Network, added that the divide will be particularly noticeable between China’s metaverse and the U.S.

In an announcement for her new book, Parallel Metaverses: How the US, China and the Rest of the World Are Shaping Different Virtual Worlds, she wrote that “the materialization of the Metaverse will take place amid persistent US-China geopolitical and technological rivalry.”

“This means there may be greater divergence among the two countries’ metaverse ecosystems related to major players, content creation, infrastructure outlays, applications, product formats, laws and regulations, and investment opportunities.”

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