China, a global leader in technology, is gaining momentum in the metaverse, with cities like Nanjing, Shanghai, and Zhengzhou actively advancing research and development in the virtual world. Nanjing has launched the China Metaverse Technology and Application Innovation Platform, while Shanghai is aiming to reach 350 billion yuan in revenue by 2025. Shanghai has unveiled various metaverse use cases, including virtual healthcare and treatment modalities and digital replicas of architectural and historical sites.
Zhengzhou has put forward policy blueprints to keep pace in the metaverse industry, with a massive fund of 10 billion yuan dedicated to the metaverse industry. This initiative offers attractive incentives for companies, such as substantial capital investment and a favourable environment for growth. This effort advances metaverse technologies and connects them with the worlds of education and entertainment.
China’s commitment to leading the metaverse revolution paves the way for significant progress in virtual reality and the broader digital landscape at the national level. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) manages the digital yuan, which acts as a fiat currency equivalent to the physical currency RMB. The digital yuan outperforms traditional payment systems due to faster, cheaper, and potentially more secure transactions. However, concerns about privacy, anonymity, and surveillance remain.
China’s massive digital yuan pilot program is spread across provinces and cities, demonstrating its commitment to further improving CBDC technology and making further efforts in this direction. It is expanding rapidly in urban centres and will be used for transportation-related payments during events like the upcoming 2023 Asian Games.
Hong Kong became a digital yuan pilot region in September 2022, focusing on cross-border payments. Although its level of acceptance and success is lower than in other parts of China, the move is consistent with China’s broader objectives of strengthening the RMB’s position in the global financial landscape. Initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have further strengthened the digital yuan’s potential for internationalization, as the Digital Silk Road could expand the adoption of the digital yuan, helping countries look for alternatives to dollar-dependent financial structures.
China is moving forward with the vision of redefining global financial dynamics by encouraging voluntary adoption of the digital yuan. China is maintaining a competitive edge in the artificial intelligence (AI) race due to its data-dependent approach and open science model. AI operates under an open science framework, sharing algorithms through research to transfer information, allowing new players to bridge the gap with established institutions and accelerate their progress. China’s strategic advantage lies in its data reserves, skilled computer scientists, and market dynamics that drive diverse AI applications and innovation.
The current trade war between America and China has intensified under President Biden, with the US identifying 600 Chinese units on the monitoring list, including Huawei, a giant in the telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors. China’s Commerce Ministry has added two American companies, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Raytheon Missiles and Defense, to its list of untrusted entities, leading to restrictions on arms sales to Taiwan and import or export activities related to China.
Despite US efforts to hinder China’s progress in technology, China has emerged as an influential power in areas such as robotics, AI, and quantum technology. Europe has also entered the field, imposing restrictions on Chinese institutions for national security and defence.
The struggle for technological dominance is complex and multifaceted, with every nation competing to gain a permanent advantage. However, America and Europe have not used time and strategic foresight like China in preparing for virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and digital currencies. With the abundance of talent and data, advancements in technology are sure to continue China’s unstoppable progress.