The metaverse is a concept that is increasingly being touted in various firms’ roadmaps. In a nutshell it represents a digital, virtual universe where users can exchange, play or even work.

Facebook’s not the only tech company that is working on the project. Chinese company Alibaba has filed several applications to register trademarks related to the development of its own version. The group joins several other Chinese companies that are racing into a metaverse-filled future.

Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has registered several trademarks such as “Ali Metaverse,” “Taobao Metaverse” and “DingDing Metaverse” on the Qichacha platform. It joins Tencent, another Chinese technology company, which for its part registered “Timi Metaverse” and “Kings Metaverse” in early September.

While in the West, Facebook seems to be leading the charge when it comes to projects related to this alternative virtual universe, the competition is much tougher in China. In addition to Alibaba and Tencent, there are  Kuaishou (a video sharing application similar to TikTok), iQiyi (owned by Chinese search engine Baidu) and Li Auto, an electric car manufacturer.

An 800-billion-dollar market by 2024

So why is there so much hype surrounding the metaverse concept? According to a recent Bloomberg Intelligence report, the market could be worth US$800 billion by 2024. So becoming the frontrunner in such a market could allow any company to position itself as the leader of the virtual world.

Such projections make it easy to understand the colossal investments being made in various augmented reality start-ups. For example, ByteDance (TikTok) last month acquired a virtual reality company called Pico for a sum estimated by the South China Morning Post at 772 million dollars. Another example is Yunfeng Capital, created by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, which recently proposed a US$100 million collaborative investment for augmented reality company Nreal.

Chinese companies aren’t afraid to invest fortunes in developing their metaverse concepts, and we should soon be hearing more about potential projects.

This article was published via AFP Relaxnews

(Image by Damir Khabirov / Getty Images)

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