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How Western Brands Could Master the Chinaverse

Big tech organizations like Meta and Alphabet are shifting their priorities away from metaverse-focused projects, leading to the rise of other buzzwords like “artificial intelligence” in the Web3 space. However, the development of the virtual realm has not slowed down, and businesses must prepare for the transitions happening in the next decade. According to Citibank, the metaverse is projected to become a $13 trillion market by 2030, making it clear that this is not a sector to ignore.

China, with its clear government-directed policies and goals for the metaverse set out in its recent five-year plan, is expected to have the first interconnected, functional national metaverse. Additionally, a government-supported national digital asset exchange allows for the purchase of digital collectibles without the use of banned cryptocurrency. The Chinese public also appears positive about the prospect of engaging with extended reality (XR) in their daily life, with 78% of respondents from China being somewhat or very positive, according to a 2022 survey by Ipsos.

To master the metaverse arena, brands must explore what works best for their audience. Digital collectibles have become trendy among China’s young demographic and are a relatively affordable asset to create. Using them strategically as tickets, proof of purchase or as collectibles sold with products is a way to get your brand noticed with great payoffs. Technologies like AR, VR, digital collectibles, virtual influencers, and the metaverse are being embraced across China like never before.

KFC, for example, created its own dedicated metaverse space using an interdimensional restaurant concept that resonated well with its audience, generating 2.9 billion impressions and interactions in just 10 days. Ping An Bank used virtual influencers and educational livestreams to interact with customers, and Aeon Mall in Xintang, Guangzhou, and AI software provider SenseTime teamed up to create XiaoTang, an AI-powered avatar that appears on screens throughout the mall to assist shoppers with directions and answer questions. Healthcare brand Mentholatum launched a digital collectible series featuring the nurse from the brand’s logo as a virtual ambassador to capture the attention of Gen Z.

For Western brands looking to crack the mainland’s metaverse market, there are multiple factors to consider. The metaverse’s offerings aren’t exclusive to entertainment and video games, but also offer vast possibilities in sectors such as healthcare, engineering, education, sales, customer service, and more. Mastering an unconventional and creative presentation style will help viewers connect with your brand, increase viewership, and create greater interest. Creating a branded virtual space, deploying virtual influencers, or using mascots to launch products, appear in digital fashion shows, or even be featured in conventional advertising methods such as billboards and posters can be effective strategies. As China’s digital landscape grows at an unprecedented speed and competition rises, brands must make a move now to stand out in this burgeoning industry.

Written By: Rupaul Charles

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