Although metaverse technology is still considered the technology of tomorrow, we’re quickly becoming accustomed to use cases springing up across a range of industries. While the landscape is very much in its fledgling stages, it’s become clear that Asia has woken up to this opportunity.
Firms are starting to buy into a market that Goldman Sachs highlighted as an $8 trillion opportunity based on potential revenue and monetization size. As the metaverse market grows in Asia, so does the potential for businesses and investors looking to get in early.
In many places, we see interactive museums cropping up in the metaverse with custom avatars exploring virtual reality landscapes, presenting interactive opportunities and the chance to socialize with friends in a digital space.
Online games like "Fortnite" and "The Sandbox" have already adopted many of the staples of the metaverse. Players can use their own avatars and character skins and have the ability to watch a Marshmello or Travis Scott concert in-game. (Read Also: Gaming, Fashion, Music: The Metaverse Across Industries)
Metaverse technology is already making waves in the world of entertainment and it won't be long until it reaches other markets. Firms based in Southeast Asia are beginning to foster plans to unleash the vast potential of the Web3 landscape by making significant investments into the metaverse. These initiatives could see the region’s tech hubs lead the way in growing the technology.
Why the Metaverse is a Big Market Opportunity for Asia
The metaverse represents a major step in the evolution of the metaverse, from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. The technology will transform the internet from a two-dimensional experience into a fully immersive, virtual one.
This opens the door for opportunities that businesses couldn’t even dream of just a few years ago. Users will be capable of taking on sensory experiences that can replicate real-life. Where we’ve become accustomed to scrolling through social media, the metaverse will be capable of transporting us into a digital world to interact with others, consuming media as though we’re at the mall or a bustling high street.
Emerging technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which combine to deliver extended reality (XR), empowers firms to create rich experiences for customers in a way that has never before existed.
Although this will fundamentally change event management in the future, along with marketing, the applications of the metaverse are virtually limitless.
Remote work, collaboration and even VR training through immersive headset experiences can help to optimize employee skill sets and promote better retention rates for companies. Meanwhile, finance stands to fundamentally change for the better, too. The metaverse has potential to support truly open banking with borderless payments and the ability for customers to physically walk through their spending insights. (Read Also: The Metaverse: Possibilities and Perils)
The potential that the metaverse holds is clear, but how is Asia looking to embrace such a major market opportunity?
As Precedence Research shows, the Asia Pacific region’s metaverse market share has been relatively low in 2021, Its 16% coverage is dwarfed by North America which commands nearly half the market.
However, emerging reports are highlighting how the tables are beginning to turn. Southeast Asia’s tech hubs are beginning to see major investment in building into the metaverse.
How Asia is Ramping Up its Metaverse Interest
Investment in the metaverse is growing throughout Southeast Asia. Business Chief has reported that the South Korean government recently invested $177.1 million in the metaverse as part of its Digital New Deal initiative, which is a program geared towards investing in new technologies to optimize the nation’s economy.
Labeled “an unchartered digital continent with indefinite potential” by South Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT, Lim Hyesook, it’s clear that the nation believes that the metaverse can help to provide a significant boost to the economy.
Metaverse fever has also been paramount in Thailand, with the technology being utilized to great effect in order to overcome the impact of lockdown measures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thailand’s largest mobile operator, Advanced Info Services (AIS), built into the metaverse to open a virtual shopping mall to help customers continue shopping in an immersive manner despite the pandemic. Named V-Avenue, the metaverse shopping mall allowed two million unique users to shop in over 200 3D stores and interact in virtual reality, recreating the mall experience in an entirely remote manner.
Investing in the Southeast Asian Metaverse
To accompany Southeast Asia’s drive towards embracing the metaverse, we’ve also seen a number of investment opportunities open up throughout the region. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng stock index is offering a specialist index to accommodate the technology.
The Hang Seng China Metaverse Index incorporates virtual reality firms, as well as, gaming and various other businesses that deliver advanced digital experiences to users.
Reported as a $8 trillion market opportunity, it's no wonder the metaverse’s potential holds such appeal for investors. Current figures surrounding the digital economy appear promising, too. At present, $54 billion is spent on virtual goods yearly with the market size of the NFT landscape, a technology that’s intrinsically linked to the metaverse, growing to $40 billion. One current iteration of a metaverse world, "Roblox," sees 60 billion messages sent each day according to JPMorgan data.
Such statistics certainly indicate interest for the metaverse and, with a mere 16% market share, Southeast Asian firms have plenty of room for growth. As more firms wake up to the potential of the next iteration of the internet and investors move quickly to embrace the emerging market, the potential opportunities only grow.
At a time when many tech stocks are struggling, it could prove worthwhile to begin researching leading Asian metaverse firms today.