South Korea’s Gyeongbuk Province plans to use the metaverse to expand economic and other relations with Vietnam, the province’s governor Lee Cheol-woo said on Friday during a visit to the Southeast Asian country.

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Fast facts

  • “We will prioritize expanding economic, cultural, trade and people-centric exchanges with Vietnam by utilizing the metaverse,” Lee said in Vietnam’s Bắc Ninh province, according to a Gyeongbuk press release on Monday.
  • No specific amounts of investments have been decided, said a spokesman for Gyeongbuk Province, which proclaimed itself South Korea’s “metaverse capital” in February, with regulatory exemptions and tax breaks.
  • The metaverse refers to a network of 3D virtual worlds accessed through virtual reality headsets as part of the next iteration of a decentralized Internet, or Web3, built around blockchains, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies.
  • In June the province said it will invest 18 billion Korean won (US$13.8 million) to establish itself as a hub for metaverse innovation, based on the country’s technology and cultural content. The province estimates the initiative will add 1 trillion won in value to the region.
  • South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol, elected in March this year, has put the metaverse and Web3 development on his list of national priorities. Also this year, the Ministry of Science and ICT said it would invest US$185 million to support the growth of metaverse-related industries.
  • Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of neighboring Japan, also announced investments in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in October this year and has designated Web3 development as one of the new pillars of economic growth in the country.

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