China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has assembled 60 experts, including some from the country’s largest technology firms, to form a new working group to establish standards for the metaverse sector.
Representatives from telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, video gaming titans Tencent Holdings and NetEase, web search and artificial intelligence champion Baidu, financial technology firm Ant Group and computer maker Lenovo Group are among those on the list published by the MIIT on Friday.
Ant is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the Post.
Other members include MIIT officials and researchers from Peking University, Fudan University and other renowned institutions in the country.
The MIIT in September proposed to form a working group to “guide the healthy and orderly development of the metaverse industry through standard regulation”, cautioning that the sector was facing ethical and security challenges.
The group would be tasked with “building and maintaining a system of metaverse industry standards”, “promoting the standards” and “training talent”, the regulator said in its proposal.
Besides focusing on domestic standards, the group would also “encourage local companies and institutions to deeply engage in international standard-setting activities”.
The metaverse, a loosely-defined term that refers to a virtual three-dimensional world, has become a trending topic in the past few years.
US social media giant Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms in 2021. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg explained during the rebranding announcement that he sought to embrace “the next chapter for the internet”.
In 2022, Meta, Microsoft and others founded the Metaverse Standards Forum, which also comprises Huawei, Tencent and some other Chinese tech giants.
Several local governments have made it a priority to develop the metaverse sector.
Beijing’s eastern Tongzhou district, considered a “sub-centre” of the capital city, has vowed to incorporate more than 100 metaverse-related firms by the end of the year.
Shanghai has planned to set up both government-backed and private funds dedicated to metaverse development. The first one, established in late 2022, raised an initial sum of 1 billion yuan (US$140 million).
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