Ex-General Who Promised to Spend $9B on Metaverse Cities Wins Indonesia Presidential Election  

Ex-General Who Promised to Spend $9B on Metaverse Cities Wins Indonesia Presidential Election  

Prabowo Subianto, who promised to spend about $9 billion on metaverse cities, is set to take over as Indonesia’s next president after winning 60% of the vote in elections held earlier this month.

On the campaign trail, the former special forces general said he would build 10 metaverse cities across the Asian country if he won the election. Subianto’s ambitious plan will cost an estimated $8.6 billion, the equivalent of 125 trillion in Indonesian money.

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Building a metaverse ‘superhub’

According to CNN, Subianto defeated two other candidates and will be officially announced winner in March. The 72-year-old won 60% of the vote to avoid a runoff in June, the report says, citing “early figures, which have been historically accurate.”

“The most important objective of democracy is giving people the leaders and representatives they want,” Prabowo told reporters at a press conference at his mansion in South Jakarta on Feb. 19.

“I hope all parties understand the greater goal,” he said, reportedly half-naked, from his swimming pool. Subianto, who currently serves as defense minister, is said to have spoken with the confidence of someone poised to take the reigns of power.

During campaigns, the president-elect revealed plans to build 10 metaverse cities throughout Indonesia. His idea is to consolidate the construction of high-tech cities with Nusantara, the designated new capital of Indonesia, which is being built at a cost of $32 billion, as the center.

Nusantara will function as the “superhub” for the metaverse cities, according to Subianto’s campaign team spokesperson, Budiman Sudjatmiko. Two other cities in Sumatra, in western Indonesia, will develop nanotechnology, chips, the Internet of Things, and sensors.

“Nine cities will resemble nine planets, and the sun will be IKN [Nusantara] as the super hub of the digital ecosystem,” Sudjatmiko told a digital summit in Jakarta in November. “It can happen. [We have the people [to build it].”

This is Prabowo Subianto’s third attempt at the presidency after losing to outgoing president Joko Widodo in 2014 and 2019. In October, Subianto named Widodo’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as his running mate in the 2024 election, AP reported.

Ex-General Who Promised to Spend $9B on Metaverse Cities Wins Indonesia Presidential Election  
Prabowo Subianto during a campaign rally. Image credits: Subianto/X

More cities turn to metaverse

A metaverse city is an expansion of the metaverse concept into a “city-like environment within digital spaces.” According to a new report by tech intelligence firm ABI Research, about 700 cities worldwide will have some form of metaverse infrastructure by 2030.

The metaverse offers a virtual platform for cities to test new infrastructure designs, optimize traffic flow, and simplify city operations, suggests another report by the World Economic Forum.

In the long run, this could even lead to large cost savings, it claims. The report further added that the metaverse provides a more engaging and interactive way for citizens to take part in decision-making as well as connect with their city government.

Cities that are already building their own metaverses include South Korea’s Seoul, designated as a metaverse city in 2021; Santa Monica, U.S.; and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Last year, South Korea committed $180 million to building a metaverse ecosystem. Today, people in Seoul can download the city’s metaverse app and use it to do things like play a game, file a complaint, or receive advice on tax issues.

Dubai is aiming to become a top-10 metaverse economy and a global hub for the metaverse community over the next decade. The city wants to draw 1,000 companies from the blockchain and metaverse industries, supporting 40,000 jobs.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.