South Korea will nurture 40,000 professionals and 220 companies specialized in metaverse technology to achieve its goal of becoming the fifth largest country in the global metaverse market by 2026, the government said Thursday.
The Ministry of Science and ICT announced the country’s pan-governmental strategic blueprint to lead the new industry to respond to economic and social changes that will be brought by the metaverse and prepare for the future.
In particular, authorities laid out four major goals -- activating the ecosystem for metaverse platforms, nurturing professionals, fostering companies and setting up a safe environment for all metaverse users.
The development of various types of the metaverse will be led by the private sector while the government will mainly focus on backing up individual developers and companies through a wide range of support measures, according to the announcement.
For instance, in the case of public services, the government will prioritize using privately-developed metaverse platforms instead of putting efforts into creating its own version.
Under the roadmap, the country plans to apply metaverse technology in the areas of arts, culture, education, K-pop and tourism while building an online Korean language institute on metaverse platforms for foreigners.
The government will also establish a metaverse academy in efforts to nurture young talent and help set up two convergence graduate schools this year by providing financial support up to 5.5 billion won ($4.6 million) for each school over the next five years.
For companies and students, the country will organize metaverse development competitions that require using domesic software programs and hold hackathons for metaverse creators.
To expand the metaverse infrastructure across the country, the government will set up a new metaverse hub this year to provide space and facilities to support startups. The country plans to create a metaverse fund to provide financial aid for small and medium firms so they can expand through merger and acquisitions.
Through the support measures, the government aims to see an annual sales of over 5 billion won from each of the 220 companies specialized in the metaverse in 2026.
With the goal of making a safe and trustworthy environment for the metaverse, the country will draft a set of ethical principles for the virtual world. As the metaverse is different from the web, the government said it will create a pan-governmental body to review related laws and revise regulations if necessary.
The government defined the metaverse as a platform that provides a virtual reality world where people and objects can interact with one another to create economic, social and cultural values.
“Metaverse is a digital new continent with infinite potential and anyone can achieve their dreams by playing as the main character. In particular, it will be a space of opportunity for young people to challenge more and grow bigger to leap into a wider world,” Science and ICT Minister Lim Hye-sook said.
“Through this strategy, we will work closely with related ministries to steadily implement various support measures such as revitalizing the industrial ecosystem, fostering talent, nurturing companies, and innovating regulations so that Korea can become a leading global metaverse country.”
By Kan Hyeong-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org