Shanghai, China’s biggest city and the country’s financial capital, on Wednesday released a plan to build out its culture and tourism metaverse projects into an industry generating an annual revenue of 50 billion yuan (US$6.9 billion) by the end of 2025.

See related article: Back to the physical: China metaverse seeks to boost real-world economy

Fast facts

  • Shanghai, which has a population of about 29 million people, aims to build 30 culture and tourism metaverse projects by the end of 2025 to focus on what it calls smart tourism, as well as virtual performances, digital artwork, and others, according to the plan by the city’s municipal administration of culture and tourism.
  • The project includes integrating metaverse technologies into the city’s real-world tourist attractions so visitors can interact with the sites through augmented reality, have avatars as tourist guides, and receive other metaverse-based services.
  • Shanghai will also promote development of digital artworks on blockchains, explore the integration of digital artworks in platforms such as video games, and support metaverse entertainment businesses, including what it called virtual idols.
  • The city’s plan lists blockchain, extended reality, and artificial intelligence among the key technologies for metaverse development. It includes a project to build a consortium blockchain ecosystem and standard to improve the interoperability of on-chain digital artworks.
  • The culture and tourism sector is just part of Shanghai’s metaverse ambitions. In July 2022, the city named metaverse technology as one of three “new tracks” in its economic development, along with intelligent terminals and low-carbon industries. The city plans to build a metaverse industry with an annual revenue of 350 billion yuan (US$52 billion) by the end of 2025, and have a US$1.4 billion metaverse industrial fund.
  • Along with Shanghai, multiple Chinese cities and provinces have released plans or policies this year for metaverse developments, including the cities of Nanjing, Zhengzhou and Hangzhou.
  • Policy makers are also exploring metaverse use in public services and administration. Earlier in June, China’s Ministry of Education released a research paper that envisions metaverse use cases such as virtual classrooms and storing student qualifications on chain as non-fungible tokens.

See related article: Charting the digital continent — East Asia’s real-world race to build the metaverse