South Korea to invest US$ 117 million into the Metaverse
South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) announced it will invest US$ 177.1 million in Metaverse projects directly to kickstart national jobs and companies in the field.
‘The metaverse is an uncharted digital continent with indefinite potential,’said the Minister of Science and ICT, Lim Hyesook.
The new tech focus is supervised under South Korea’s Digital New Deal, a set of guidelines the government is following to transform and accelerate the country and its citizens into a fully digital economy.
South Korea is among the first countries to invest in the Metaverse alongside a growing list of venture capital firms and companies.
On the city level, Seoul’s metropolitan government is already building a US$ 3.14 million Metaverse platform to provide virtual public services. The initiative combines digital twins, virtual reality to improve city services, planning, administration and virtual tourism.
The South Korean government announced in January 2022, that it has developed a long-term road map to become the fifth largest global market for Metaverse solutions. (South Korea is currently ranked 12th in the global market for Metaverse technologies) ICT will focus on developing 220 Metaverse firms valued at US$ 4.2 million. Related initiatives in progress include the establishment of a Metaverse Academy, dubbe ‘K-Metaverse Academy’ that will ‘intensively train young developers and creators with technical capabilities and arts and humanities skills’. This will equip new entrants with tools to collaborate with local technology companies. Metaverse Labs that aims to ‘promote the development, entrepreneurship, and commercialisation of metaverse-specific technologies’ is also in the works.
Metaverse activity is still in its infancy in Asia as companies invest time and funds to find the first winning application, said Everest Group partner Yugal Joshi in an interview with CNBC.
When asked if other countries might follow in South Korea’s footsteps to enter the Metaverse, Joshi replied with, ‘Some things are happening in bits and pieces but I believe this does tell you that governments are starting to take this more seriously because it’s a platform where people come together. Anything which makes people come together, it makes governments interested.’
Other Asian countries tapping into the Metaverse include Shanghai, which released a five-year Metaverse development plan and tech giants in China such as Tencent and Alibaba pouring investments into the Metaverse.