China’s capital Beijing aims to develop a 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) virtual human industry using Web 3 technologies within three years.
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology published a document last week that highlight the plan for developing a virtual human industry worth 50 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) in the next three years utilizing the Web3 technology. According to the document, the city of Beijing wants to develop one or two leading virtual human companies by 2025 with revenues of more than 5 billion yuan each, plus 10 more companies that would generate annual revenue of 1 billion yuan each.
The virtual human industry would also incorporate a technological system, business model, and governance framework that have Web 3 characteristics.
The beginning of the internet, or Web 1.0, allowed people to read and connect to information. Web 2.0 was the iteration of social media that facilitated a new wave of people connecting with others. Web 3.0 is widely considered as a decentralized internet powered by blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) being the underlying infrastructure.
Beijing’s government did not specific which Web 3 characteristic should be incorporated into the virtual human industry, but it did mention that it wants to create blockchain-based trading platforms for what it refers to as digital human factors like models, skins, and textures.
The document also highlighted Bejing’s plans to nurture Web 3 intellectual property companies to enhance the industry’s ecosystem.
Virtual idols have started appearing in the Chinese news headlines and media at an increasing rate since last year. The VR pop stars Luo Tian Yi and Hatsune Miku sang original songs on the Chinese video streaming site Bilibili; the virtual influencer Liu Yexi amassed millions of fans overnight on the short video platform Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) by posting make-up tutorial videos; Alibaba DAMO Academy’s virtual mascot Dong Dong even sold Olympics merchandise with the help of his adorable Beijing dialect in livestreaming shows on Taobao Live.
In order to promote the development of its virtual human industry, the National Radio and Television Administration, the country’s media watchdog, proposed to advance the use of virtual humans in China’s 14th five-year plan.