Chinese tech giant Tencent has continued its foray into blockchain technology by filing a patent for virtual concerts in the metaverse. This development is despite past criticisms of NFTs and metaverse by Chinese banks and regulators.
Tencent Joins the Metaverse Train
Business data tracker platform Qichacha revealed Tencent’s foray into the metaverse. According to the report, Tencent filed the virtual concerts patent with the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
The tech giant’s patent application involves a computing approach and interactive instructions for organizing a virtual concert. Tencent has been actively involved in the metaverse in recent months. On December 31st of last year, it organized the first-ever Chinese virtual concert in the metaverse to celebrate the New Year called TMELAND, which attracted over 1 million fans.
Tencent also acquired animated concert firm Wave, which uses motion-capture technology to create virtual concerts. Prior to the purchase, Wave had grown massively as a tool used by musicians to engage with fans during the global pandemic.
American hip-hop star The Weeknd used Wave to broadcast a virtual concert on TikTok in 2021, drawing more than 1.5 million viewers globally. Many analysts have speculated that the purchase of Wave was a signal of intent by Tencent towards developing a metaverse ecosystem.
Metaverse Growing in Popularity Despite Regulators’ Concerns
The word ”Metaverse” has become a popular trend in China, and several tech companies like ByteDance and Baidu have already filed related trademark applications.
The Chinese market is one of the biggest globally, and gaining the first-mover advantage in the metaverse sector is the goal. This was further confirmed by the CNIPA, which revealed that it had received at least 16,000 trademark applications containing the word “metaverse”.
The regulator further stated that it would be cracking down on malicious registrations that intended to take advantage of the rising popularity of the metaverse to defraud unsuspecting users.
China is known for its strong regulatory approach towards digital technology, and there has been a growing concern about the popularity of NFTs and the metaverse. A high profile director of the PBoC had warned in late 2021 of the dangers of new trends in crypto, including NFTs and metaverse.
He claimed they provided an accessible vehicle for money laundering and tax evasion if left unregulated. The Chinese media has also voiced its concerns with the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party issuing a warning against the metaverse.
The report noted that regulation was required before innovation and warned of the dangers of an unregulated metaverse ecosystem. However, despite the concerns of the state-controlled institutions, China has not provided any regulatory clarity on the metaverse.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Chinese companies like Tencent are trying to gain relevant licenses before the advent of strict regulations. The metaverse trend has also extended to other emerging markets like Africa and South America.
MTN, the leading telecommunications company in Africa, recently announced its purchase of 144 plots of virtual land on the metaverse platform Africarare. This was the first of its kind in the region and shows the growing popularity of the metaverse globally.