Chinese internet giants race to the metaverse
Published: Dec 08, 2021 11:20 PM
Metaverse Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese internet giants scrambled to snag a spot in the metaverse, a concept that has gone viral this year. 

The country's three online behemoths or "BAT" for Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, which have reaped large profits from the development of the internet over the past decades, have got a head start towards the metaverse, which is widely defined as an alternative digital reality where people work, play and socialize. 

Alibaba took a step further by registering several trademarks, including "Ali Metaverse." 

The prospective company with a 10 million yuan ($1.58 million) investment by Alibaba is related with metaverse, online news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Tencent, the world's largest video gaming firm by revenue, aims to pivot to the metaverse as it is ramping up efforts to invest in other gaming firms. 

Already presiding over the gaming and the virtual reality sector, Tencent owns 40 percent of US gaming firm Epic Games which is building its own metaverse platform.

"Metaverse is an exciting topic. I believe Tencent has great technologies and capabilities to explore and develop the metaverse. For instance, we have rich experience in sectors like gaming, social media and AI," Tencent CEO Pony Ma Huateng told investors. 

Chinese search engine Baidu followed the others and raised its stakes in the smart hardware businesses. 

iQiYi, with heavy investment by Baidu, is an important player in China's VR and its VR devices are considered as interphases to access online 3-D virtual environments. 

Gaming giant NetEase also filed dozens of trademark applications related to the metaverse.

In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg's announcement in October that Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc, more companies began to bet on the metaverse. 

Despite there are concerns over a premature hype about the metaverse, industry experts said they should not be a roadblock for exploring related opportunities in this global race.