Chinese city of Zhengzhou announces $1.42 billion in Metaverse incentives

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(Kitco News) – Blockchain-related developments in China are evolving despite the nationwide ban on cryptocurrency trading, as the city of Zhengzhou — capital of Henan province — on Wednesday announced policy proposals to support Metaversum companies.

According to an announcement by the Zhengzhou Municipal Development & Reform Commission, the city is now soliciting public comments on a proposal to help accelerate the construction of Zhengzhou’s metaverse industrial ecosystem as the region aspires to become an industry player on a global scale.

The new guidelines are designed to help implement China’s national “Digital Economy Development Plan” and the “Metaverse Industry Development Action Plan of Henan Province,” the announcement said.

To give the initiatives a solid start, the city government will set up a special fund worth 10 billion yuan (US$1.42 billion) to promote growth and development in the industry.

The city government also plans to work with other government agencies and investment firms to secure an additional 50 billion yuan (US$7.08 billion) to support various Metaverse-related development projects.

Metaverse companies that choose to relocate their headquarters to Zhengzhou will be eligible for a seed capital investment of up to 200 million yuan (US$28.34 million) and may also be eligible for other benefits such as rent subsidies.

To be eligible for additional benefits, companies must be an independent legal entity registered and taxed in Zhengzhou City.

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“Metaverse companies refer to research and development of underlying assistive technologies, manufacturing of devices and technical services in metaverse domains such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), digital twins, human Computer Interaction and Brain-Computer Interface,” says a draft of the guidelines. The guidelines also apply to “companies focused on building and producing Metaverse scene content, such as: B. industry, education, cultural tourism, trade and commerce.”

Various rewards have been set for various Metaverse activities, such as a 20 million yuan reward for companies going public and being listed.

Any company engaged in the development of metaverse use cases in the city, regardless of where the company is headquartered, can apply to receive up to 5 million yuan (US$710,000) for each from the city government as realizable certified project qualify.

According to Zhengzhou’s long-term metaverse development forecast, the city government expects that the city’s metaverse-related industries will generate over 200 billion yuan (US$28.34 billion) in annual revenue by the end of 2025.

Other industries Zhengzhou hopes to support include next-generation computer rendering, human-computer interfaces, and artificial intelligence. The city also wants to build a market for digital assets using non-fungible token technology (NFT).

The public now has an opportunity to comment on the policy proposals, and all sectors of society are welcome to offer their opinions and suggestions, the announcement said.

In August, the Beijing municipal government announced a two-year Metaverse innovation and development plan to be implemented from 2022 to 2024. The main focus of the plan is to promote the development of metaverse-related industries and help Beijing build a benchmark city for the digital economy.

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With this announcement, Zhengzhou joins a growing list of Chinese cities and provinces aiming to establish itself as the country’s Metaverse hub.

On Monday, Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, launched its Blockchain Technology and Application Innovation Platform of China, a state-backed entity dedicated to promoting and enhancing metaverse studies across the country.

The new company will be led by Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST) and will have a roster of founding members representing a wide range of academic institutions and Metaverse-related companies across mainland China. The purpose of the platform is to bring together the resources of academic institutions and companies in China to strengthen research efforts in metaverse-related fields.

The city of Shanghai is also actively pursuing its Metaverse aspirations, and forecasts that its Metaverse industry will reach 350 billion yuan (US$49.6 billion) in annual revenue by 2025. City officials unveiled their first collection of 20 Metaverse use cases in January, including a range of applications such as virtual health diagnostics and digital recreations of the city’s historic architectural landmarks.

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