Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, will roll out a series of new metaverse initiatives in Hong Kong, enabling HongKongers to better understand metaverse’s potential across industries. According to a statement, Meta’s metaverse plan for Hong Kong includes virtual reality (VR) experiences and exhibitions at local cafés and public spaces.
There will also be a short film showcase and a new recognition initiative to support the convergence of film, visual media and technology. Augmented Reality (AR) training workshops will also be created for educators and secondary school students. Testing of digital collectibles will also begin with Hong Kong creators who will be able to share their own non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Instagram, said the statement from Meta.
The new plan reaffirms Meta’s commitment to bringing the metaverse to life, to help people to connect, find communities, and grow businesses through its platforms. The announcement came after Zuckerberg’s big bet on the metaverse, a virtual world that enables citizens to socialise, trade and work in the future. Meta announced earlier this week that it will soon launch its virtual space Horizon Home to its headset product Quest 2.
Moreover, Meta will collaborate with various partners to give the public opportunities to experience the metaverse, starting off with pop-up metaverse experiences with local illustrator Dustykid and lifestyle concept space Preface Coffee & Wine from 17 to 29 June 2022.
During the period, HongKongers can visit the DustyLand exhibition at Central Market to access the metaverse using the Meta Quest 2 VR headset, and be the first to use AR filters co-created by Dustykid and youths. Participants who complete required tasks will receive a set of Dustykid x Meta #BringGoodnessToTheMetaverse limited edition stickers and AR postcards.
The pop-up metaverse experience will also be available at Preface Coffee & Wine located in Central and Causeway Bay from 1 to 31 July 2022, customers who purchase a cup of “Metaverse Coffee” will be granted access to the metaverse using the Meta Quest 2 VR headset.
Meanwhile, Meta is collaborating with the Hong Kong Arts Centre to create a new special award category – “VR Special Prize” – for the 28th ifva Awards to encourage filmmakers to adopt VR in their works. The award will be open for submission within the Hong Kong and Asia region.
Additionally, Meta will provide technical expertise to support the showcase of a VR film project, Chroma 11, the first piece of work from Hong Kong selected as one of the international projects for the Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality under Venice Film Festival. The film showcase will be held in September 2022 at the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong.
George Chen, managing director of public policy for Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia at Meta, said: “Hong Kong plays a key role in the technology ecosystem of the Asia-Pacific region, and Meta remains committed to driving economic and technological development in this market. We’re aware that people want to know how the metaverse will work, and with AR and VR – the key technologies that underpin the metaverse – on the cusp of becoming ubiquitous, more and more young people want to learn these in-demand skills.”
“Building for the metaverse is a collective effort that involves multiple stakeholders of the society, which is why we are thrilled to collaborate with a broad range of partners from Hong Kong to bring the metaverse experience to the community, and promote AR and VR innovations in the arts and cultural, and education sectors,” Chen added.
In Hong Kong, many brands are now stepping into the metaverse. Animoca Brands' subsidiary The Sandbox has been a hot favourite for many corporations.
For example, Standard Chartered Hong Kong stepped into the metaverse with The Sandbox, creating innovative experiences for clients and the community. The bank said it had acquired a virtual land at The Sandbox metaverse’s Mega City. Earlier this year, The Sandbox added some partners in Hong Kong to create its cultural hub Mega City.
Meanwhile, communications company PCCW and telco company HKT have partnered with The Sandbox to acquire a Hong Kong inspired virtual land in Mega city and join the metaverse. Upon purchasing a Hong-Kong inspired neighbourhood in The Sandbox, the collaboration of the two brands is set to launch the world’s first virtual 5G mobile network and transform traditional film, TV and music content into a Web3-enabled new form of entertainment.
The collaboration also enables PCCW and HKT to explore new business opportunities, and the two companies promised to introduce more new-age financial and health technologies, plus eCommerce solutions, to build a fascinating virtual “metacommunity”, which will deliver an entirely new 5G-enabled entertainment experience.
Metaverse and NFTs are two key buzzwords these days. A report by international economics consulting firm, Analysis Group, said if metaverse adoption and impact evolves similarly to mobile technology, it could contribute 2.8% to global GDP in the tenth year after the adoption begins. This means that if the adoption of the metaverse started in 2022, it would lead to a US$3 trillion contribution to global GDP in 2031.
In Asia Pacific, the metaverse is expected to have a 2.3% share of the region's GDP in the 10th-year of adoption.
Meanwhile, employees are also keeping an eye on this space. A study done in January by Lenovo found that 44% of employees are willing to work in the metaverse and believe that it can deliver benefits like productivity to the workplace.Working adults in Brazil (53%), Singapore (51%) and China (54%) are split evenly, with around half confident that their employers have the expertise to enable a metaverse workplace, and the other half less confident. Conversely, working adults in the UK (30%) and Japan (18%) are less optimistic.
That said, there is skepticism on whether companies have the capabilities to pull it off. Two in five (43%) respondents believe their employers do not, or probably do not have the knowledge or expertise to enable them to work in the metaverse of the future.
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