Cryptocurrency, News, Regulation

China’s Biggest Search Engine Planning To Launch Its Metaverse

One of China’s top search engine platforms, Baidu, has revealed a 6-year plan to start its metaverse world.

Testing The Waters

While the research and development are already in progress, the firm disclosed that it expects its metaverse to develop within the next six years fully. Nevertheless, Baidu launched a metaverse app (known as Xirang) this past week; the mandarin name, which means land of hope in English, might be a way Baidu is testing the waters of its metaverse launch. Xirang enables users to mingle through their avatars, share an online space and even visit landmarks.

The Shaolin temple is one of the major attractions in the virtual tourist world. The firm states that Xirang can accommodate more than 100K users, but it is only open to the Chinese. Furthermore, Baidu’s annual conference for developers was held on Xirang late last month, with the company claiming that it is the first metaverse conference in China ever.

No Specific Timeline Of Launch Yet

Speaking during a CNBC interview a few days before the annual developers’ conference, a top-level executive of the firm, Ma Jie, disclosed that the company’s metaverse won’t launch fully until after some years.

When one of the interviewers asked Jie to give a specific timeline for the completion, Jie responded by saying, “I don’t have the right answer to this question.” However, Jie was quick to add that part of the company’s metaverse plan is a virtual open-source system for developers. The search engine giants showed their intent for a metaverse launch when they applied to own the trademark rights to the “metaapp” a few months ago.

Baidu is among several tech firms that recently applied for trademark rights on various metaverse-related names and projects. A South China morning post article revealed that as of December 20, 2021, nearly 1,380 Chinese companies have applied for metaverse-related trademark rights. 

The Metaverse Bandwagon And Regulatory Challenges

Continued interest in the metaverse world is a sign of its rising popularity and global adoption. Hence, don’t be surprised when most of these big brands launch their metaverse projects almost simultaneously. However, these institutions’ goal to make fast cash or tone down its decentralized nature may hamper the growth of this sector.

The only disruption to Baidu’s metaverse plans would be China’s strict regulation of the crypto sector. However, the search engine behemoth quickly remarked that its metaverse wouldn’t support virtual currencies. This is a smart move from them, given that China maintains its stance on the ban of private digital assets.

Besides facing the challenge of not supporting digital assets, Baidu might also be cautious when launching its metaverse. A recent report by the Chinese Institute of contemporary international relations remarked that the metaverse world is a possible political and national security risk. Hence, it suggested that authorities must develop and establish metaverse-related regulations. Baidu’s announcement positively impacted its share price on the Hong Kong stock exchange, gaining 1.5% in the last 24 hours.

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