Sichuan Tianfu New Area plots course to pioneer latest technology and grow digital economy
The metaverse will become a key force in driving the digital economy in Sichuan Tianfu New Area, as the region is accelerating development in the industry, officials and business insiders said.
The metaverse refers to a shared virtual environment in which technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are combined to create a virtual presence.
Gathering officials, experts and business representatives who are involved in the metaverse, the first Tianfu Metaverse conference－sponsored by Sichuan Tianfu International Conference& Exhibition Co and organized by the Sichuan Tianfu New Area metaverse industry association－was held both online and offline on Thursday in the Tianfu International Convention Center of the Western China International Expo City in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province.
The event attracted parties involved in the metaverse field to share insights on the future development of related technology, demonstrate industrial achievements and discuss business opportunities and the industrial landscape, as part of the effort to promote the metaverse industry.
Technological revolution and industrial transformation across the world create opportunities for the metaverse as it has become a key topic in the digital economy's development, local officials said.
Listed as a national-level new area leading high-quality regional development, Sichuan Tianfu New Area is targeting the metaverse as a way to drive the digital economy and is striving to occupy a key position in this industry to enhance the city's future competitiveness, they said.
During the event, the Sichuan Tianfu New Area metaverse industry association announced the formal establishment of 12 metaverse research institutes. They are to revolve around sectors including conferences and exhibitions; healthcare; artificial intelligence; optical display technology; visual imaging; business technology; robotics; digital art; literary creation and cyber security, as part of the effort to encourage more scientists, businesspeople and artists to explore the metaverse ecosystem.
The move aims to take advantage of technology resources to promote industrial construction and the development of the digital economy.
"These 12 institutes are built for the vertical research into the metaverse industry.
"They are expected to map out a new metaverse landscape based on the strength of the expo city, technological innovation and expert resources, be developed into leading metaverse research institutes in the country and drive the city's high-quality development," an official of the association said.
The metaverse industry is in a period of uncertainty, as it has yet to become fully-fledged, the official said, adding that the establishment of these institutes is conducive to promoting the stable development of the industry and boosting the city's economic growth.
The conference also released an opportunity list with an investment of 1 billion yuan ($149 million) to help build metaverse scenarios in Tianfu New Area. The list is open to businesses worldwide and aims to set an application example of the transformation and upgrading of the real economy through the metaverse. It also helps the new area to build new business patterns, scenarios and consumption to become a national pioneer in the metaverse.
Utilizing metaverse technology, the conference also demonstrated future metaverse scenarios featuring digital, virtual, interactive and immersive experiences.
For example, the conference displayed the prototype Chengdu hall of the Tianfu International Convention Center at its metaverse exhibition, allowing participants to have an immersive exhibition experience online.
It also set up an online exhibition area, attracting a total of 19 high-tech businesses including CloudWalk, SenseTime, Raco, 51World and Beijing Freedo to showcase their latest technologies, applications and achievements in the metaverse.
Song Bin, founder and CEO of Beijing Freedo Technology, said events like the Tianfu Metaverse conference will become a trend and the metaverse conventions and exhibitions are expected to be one of the earliest scenarios used in the metaverse.
Tianfu New Area and Chengdu not only share success in metaverse development, but have also established favorable institutions for innovation as well as business and talent attraction, Song said.
Freedo has completed a business layout in the new area and Chengdu and plans to set up a talent training base in the city soon, according to Song.
"There are many metaverse industrial giants planning businesses in Chengdu. These enterprises generate capital, projects and talents here, and thus help Tianfu New Area and Chengdu stand out among their peers in the metaverse industry," he said.
Chengdu is expected to be developed into a metaverse benchmark city, and Tianfu New Area will become a benchmark area in this industry, he added.
Liu Feiyu, senior consultant at Raco, said the metaverse exhibition gives exhibitors a better immersive experience and helps brands conduct market promotion through virtual creations compared with offline exhibitions.
"Metaverse exhibitions will create a closer immersive interaction between users and exhibitors," Liu said.
Wang Zibin, general manager at the metaverse business department of SenseTime Technology, said Tianfu New Area is a region with innovation and sees a burgeoning development in industries such as technology, exhibition, healthcare, AI and cultural arts.
These industries are supporting ones in the metaverse ecosystem and have built a solid development base for the metaverse industry, Wang said.
Tianfu New Area has rolled out a series of policies to support metaverse technology and AI industrial development. These have realized marked achievements in fostering new drivers for boosting economic growth, said Wang Zhongxun, vice-president of CloudWalk Technology.
The new area has formed an AI business cluster led by industrial giants, creating a strong base for the implementation of the metaverse and AI technologies, he added.
"CloudWalk will focus on building a metaverse research and development center, promoting the new area's development through the coordination of AI and human beings, as well as using science and technology to support the city's planning, infrastructure construction, management and operation," the executive said.
LI XIAOTIAN/CHINA DAILY
When talking about the metaverse, people tend to think of applications such as games. However, it can also refer to the industrial field. Based on relations with the real world, the metaverse can be divided into three categories of alternative, parallel and augmented reality universes, with the latter two used in the industrial field.
Lu Wei, founder of K2Data
The metaverse can be regarded as a real-time online network composed of emerging technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and interactive sensing technology. It is an organic and unified whole that interacts with the digital virtual world and the physical real world. AI will become the core driving force and production factor of the metaverse.
Wang Zhongxun, vice-president of CloudWalk Technology
With the arrival of the metaverse, the attraction of the virtual spiritual world will surpass that of the real world. Every user of the metaverse is the creator of the world. It is necessary to ensure our dominance in formulating rules of the metaverse. Technologies such as AI, IoT, the internet of vehicles, mobile communication and blockchain are essential to building the metaverse.
Liu Feiyu, senior consultant at Raco
The metaverse helps create more new application scenarios for the use of our copyright pictures. During the Tianfu Metaverse conference, we launched an immersive exhibition at the Qinhuang Lake of the Tianfu International Convention Center. Next, Sipa will cooperate with Sichuan Tianfu International Conference& Exhibition Co to build immersive exhibitions halls by utilizing both copyright resources and metaverse technology.
Jin Hongwei, chairman of the board of directors at Sipa Press
The metaverse is the integration of a variety of new technologies, not just about games in virtual space, or the next-generation upgrade of the internet. It is a new form of technology that includes more models, more data, more computing power, and more AI capabilities.
Wang Zibin, general manager at the metaverse business department of SenseTime Technology
The popularity of the metaverse is the result of multiple factors such as technological improvement, the emergence of application scenarios, and capital investment. But to truly realize the metaverse, we have to solve a series of issues, including new moralities and ethics, personal privacy, intellectual property rights, and other new types of property rights.
Zhang Dan, co-chairman of FN Jiqi Health Technology