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Alibaba’s home province Zhejiang sets up metaverse industrial association

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China’s Zhejiang province, the home province of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is establishing a metaverse industrial association. The decision, announced Saturday, follows Beijing city’s establishment of a similar group earlier this month and comes amid greater competition in the space among regional governments in China.

See related article: Back to the physical: China metaverse seeks to boost real-world economy

Fast facts

  • The announcement by Zhejiang’s 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.
  • Zhejiang province’s metaverse association – Provincial Metaverse Industrial Association of Zhejiang – will be a non-profit organzation overseen by the provincial government. The group will mediate between enterprises and governments in metaverse cooperations, provide metaverse-related consultancy and training, and help to develop industry standards, according to a Monday announcement by the Zhejiang Digital Economy Society, one of the founders of the association.
  • Founding members of the association also include the subsidiaries of China’s state-owned telecommunication giant China Mobile and Chinese internet technology corporation NetEase, which launched their 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 in two years.
  • The association listed healthcare, e-commerce, education, tourism and entertainment among the major sectors for metaverse adoption, and will set up dedicated committees for these areas.
  • The association is based in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province’s capital known for its academic institutions and high-tech industrial parks. The city also is home to the headquarters of Alibaba Group, and research and development centers of major Chinese tech firms 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 city Beijing started building its metaverse industrial innovation center on July 7 and has over 40 companies as members. The cities of Nanjing, Guangzhou and Hefei have also launched similar metaverse organizations since the start of the year.

See related article: Charting the digital continent — East Asia’s real-world race to build the metaverse

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