Technology

Projects like The Sandbox are centred on NFTs. Players themselves can create their own digital assets in the game – such as costumes and weapons for their avatar – as an NFT. Players can likewise own virtual “land” in The Sandbox’s universe, similarly in the form of NFTs. The land units are represented in a map that forms The Sandbox metaverse. (The Sandbox/SPH)

If Chinese video producers and gamers can become metaverse creators

In this second article in a series on the metaverse, technology expert Yin Ruizhi says that video creation platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou, as well as sandbox games such as Mini World, might give an idea of how users can help create the virtual world in the metaverse if the financial and creative bar is lowered such that participating is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations - Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst?

One of the hottest buzzwords recently is the metaverse. In this first article in a series on the topic, technology expert Yin Ruizhi explains what the metaverse is, what would make it viable and why creating the metaverse is still very much a pipe dream.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
Computer games are seen at a store in Beijing, China, on 10 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Will overregulation kill Chinese firms' metaverse ambitions?

The metaverse is the latest tech industry buzzword that has generated great interest among Chinese tech companies and China's capital market. Not everyone is equally enthusiastic, however, as Chinese authorities appear to be taking a cautious approach, attempting to strike a balance between regulatory control and the risk of stifling innovation. Caixin explores what's in store for the metaverse.
The China-US tech competition is intensifying, with experts saying that the US should maintain its lead, at least for now. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Technology and innovation race: US losing edge to China?

Observers of China-US competition have commented that a tech war is rapidly becoming the decisive battleground in the big power rivalry for global dominance. While there have been reports saying that the US may lose this war, visiting senior fellow at the RSIS Dr Cung Vu thinks that given the US's recognition of the importance of technology, and China's recent acts of reining in its tech companies, the US should continue to lead.
Actors stand near a board with logos of Maoyan Entertainment and Chinese company ByteDance's app TikTok, known locally as Douyin, at a red carpet ceremony at the Beijing International Film Festival, in Beijing, China, 20 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's burgeoning e-commerce cyberspace and its ever more complex regulations

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi says that many users of platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou and WeChat spend hours each day scrolling aimlessly for interesting content, and the art of directing these potential consumers to their products through content creators is complicated. To facilitate this process, it is necessary to ensure fair competition for all participants. This is where anti-monopoly rules can play a part, and with a growing cyberspace, it will be an ever more complex task.
An employee gestures next to a Lenovo logo at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing, China, 15 November 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Lenovo's IPO withdrawal: Why Lenovo is no longer the golden boy of the Chinese tech industry

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that Lenovo’s aborted bid to get listed on Shanghai’s STAR Market is telling of it being held back by a lack of R&D and innovation. Is this emblematic of other companies in China’s manufacturing industry who went for low-hanging fruits in the early days instead of planning for long-term technological development?
Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
A man plays an online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 31 August 2021. (Florence Lo/File Photo/Reuters)

A metaverse with Chinese characteristics?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “Think of the metaverse as an immersive virtual world where people can spend time together and hang out, much like you can do today with virtual reality, dialed up to 11.” Stocks of companies working on constructing the said metaverse have been on the rise. China, with its huge video game market, should have a head start in this realm, but authorities are sounding words of caution. They fear the metaverse will be as ephemeral as it seems and worse, even harder to regulate. How will it get a piece of the pie in its own way?