South Korea’s Ministry of Science has announced a $21 million investment into local services for the metaverse. The news follows the establishment of a $30 million metaverse fund aimed at helping start-ups expand their businesses, reports Forkast.
The investment of $21 million will aid 13 fresh ventures in areas such as healthcare, education, and tourism, which will leverage the metaverse to enhance public services, as stated by the ministry in the press release.
Additionally, the US $30 million fund will encourage smaller enterprises in the metaverse sector to actively seek mergers and acquisitions to expand operations into the global market.
Since the South Korean government’s investment of approximately $185 million to cultivate the nation’s metaverse ecosystem in February 2022, various metaverse initiatives have surfaced, including the unveiling of Seoul’s metaverse replica by the capital city’s public and private sectors.
“In the field of industrial convergence, the metaverse healthcare platform that provides various health care services such as health management and psychological counseling, and the metaverse education platform that provides high quality public education services for students with health disabilities in elementary, middle, and high schools, are discussed,” stated the press release.
South Korea actively investing in the metaverse
South Korea has made significant investments in the development of its metaverse ecosystem, with around $185 million allocated to the initiative in February 2022.
This investment will be deployed to build infrastructure for the development of the metaverse. Firstly, metaverse labs, academies, and graduate schools in the country will be built with these funds. Since February, various metaverse projects have been launched in both the private and public sectors.
Despite South Korea’s heavy investment in the metaverse, a leading developer, Meta Platforms’ Reality Labs, reportedly incurred a loss of $13 billion in 2022 due to the inability of its virtual platform, Horizon Worlds, to retain a significant number of users.
While the metaverse has been generating much hype, Google Trends data indicates that netizens have gradually lost interest in the term, with a 76% decrease in popularity compared to its yearly peak in March 2022.
Japan gets its own ‘Metaverse Economic Zone’
Along with South Korea, Japan is another metaverse leader in the making from Asia.
Japan is gearing up for the next wave of metaverse development, with major tech players such as Mitsubishi and Fujitsu working on creating the “Ryugukoku,” or “Japanese Metaverse Economic Zone.”
The aim of this initiative is to propel Japan’s growth through the creation of next-generation games, leveraging each company’s technologies and expertise to design the social infrastructure for the metaverse.
The project will be focused on areas such as interoperability, gamification, fintech, and information and communication technology. Users will get the chance to visit a VR environment via a role-playing game (RPG) character, who will be able to get involved in different realms of the metaverse.
“This is an opportunity for Japan to vigorously promote the development of an internationally competitive web3 business environment as a part of its national strategy, and to demonstrate leadership in international regulatory discussions,” said the proposal, published by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.
Now is the time for the public and private sectors to gather their knowledge and expertise to make Japan a global hub of responsible innovation, according to the proposal.