Chinese companies led by Tencent and Huawei apply for Metaverse trademarks despite PBoC’s warning

  • Chinese companies, including Huawei, Tencent, and Hisense, have aggressively applied for the registration of their metaverse applications.
  • The virtual space has drawn great attention and is expected to rise to trillion-dollar heights in a few years, but China is still in opposition.

Chinese companies are now in pursuit of the much-hyped metaverse technology and its many applications. More than a thousand of them have submitted applications for metaverse-related trademarks.

Since the early days of cryptocurrencies’ inception, Chinese authorities have shown a staunch opposition to digital assets. Various bans and restrictions were placed on crypto assets, with possibly the biggest and most binding of them being this year’s wide ban on anything and everything crypto-related. These officials have reacted no differently to the metaverse and the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) they make use of.

In November, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) issued a warning on metaverse and NFTs during a national financial security summit. According to Gou Wenjun, the bank’s AML and Analysis Center Director, these digital assets have no physical basis. This, he says, makes them prone to being “widely used” to facilitate illicit activities. Such include “illegal fundraising, pyramid schemes, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and extortion” among others.

Chinese companies race towards the Metaverse

Gou suggested a possible crackdown on the metaverse and NFTs that would be just as harsh as the crypto crackdown. He urged regulators to keep “consistent high-level vigilance” on the evolution of virtual assets. He also suggested the PBoC investigates certain aspects to identify and evaluate the aforementioned risks.

Ignoring these warnings, Chinese companies have rushed to register metaverse-related trademarks such as “metaverse satellite” and “metaverse exhibition.” Per the South China Morning Post, over 1,360 firms had submitted 8,534 such applications by Sunday.

The majority of these companies are tech dealers, including Huawei and Hisense. The former applied for a “Metaverse OS,” while the latter applied for several metaverse trademarks in different areas such as social services, advertising and science. Another notable company is gaming and tech giant Tencent, which has applied for the registration of almost 100 metaverse-related applications. Among them are “QQ Metaverse,” “QQ Music Metaverse” and “Kings Metaverse.”

Other than China’s central bank, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, issued similar warnings. On Dec. 9, the newspaper called out metaverse property sales on their high volatility risk.

Growth of NFTs and virtual spaces

NFTs have continued to exhibit increasing demand, hence the numerous metaverse applications in China. According to the NFT sales tracker Crypto Slam, NFT sales have amounted to $580.7 million in the past week alone. The whole market is now worth over $7 billion, a figure forecasted to shoot to $17.7 billion next year. Last month, digital asset managing company Grayscale said global active metaverse wallets have multiplied tenfold since 2020. Additionally, these virtual spaces could see massive adoption in the next few years, presenting a $1 trillion market opportunity.

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