China, despite its strict anti-crypto stance, is attempting to invade the metaverse, albeit with a clear set of rules of conduct to be applied in the virtual universe. The country is reportedly exploring ways to create social credit systems for Metaversum users that would closely resemble the controversial Communist Party laws that are part of how China governs and operates on a daily basis. Members of the Chinese tech community are opening discussions with other global tech bodies about it.
China Mobile approached the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with some proposals related to Metaverse, according to a Politico report over the weekend. The ITU is a United Nations (UN) telecommunications agency that sets global rules for the technology sector.
The first proposal from China is a digital ID system for Metaverse users. The proposed digital IDs will contain a range of personal data from individuals, including their social media credentials as well as their job details.
This digital ID system is equated with China’s social credit system, which scores points for Chinese nationals. The system could result in people being banned from using public services based on ratings suggesting “bad behavior”.
With this digital ID system, the law enforcement authorities in China want to keep an eye on cybercriminals. Businesses that commit fraud, identity theft and harassment in these fully-functional virtual ecosystems will face real penalties in China when this digital identification proposal sees the light of day.
In the Metaverse, humans can meet as digital avatars for social gatherings, concerts, work engagements, games, and to share digital files and documents.
If China Mobile’s proposal goes through to the ITU, it would empower the Chinese government to openly spy on Metaversum users, Politico said, citing concerned industry experts.
The ITU’s Metaverse focus group is scheduled to meet in October, where China’s proposal could be put to a vote. Neither China Mobile nor the ITU have responded to the report.
However, this isn’t the first time a Chinese company has expressed interest in entering the Metaverse sector. In June 2022, the Chinese technology group Tencent announced the establishment of an “Extended Reality” (XR) unit, relying on the metaverse concept of virtual worlds.
China’s Taiyi Group also acquired Huobi’s “Huoxun” communication tool last year to add more technical details to its Metaverse exploration journey.
According to Statista, the revenue of the global Metaverse sector is expected to grow to US$82 billion (approximately Rs.6,81,424 billion) by the end of 2023. Over the next seven years through 2030, revenue generated from the Metaverse industry is expected to reach approximately $936 billion (approximately 7,778 crore).