Shanghai’s Hongkou District Subsidizes Metaverse Startups With Up to Nearly $28K

According to the official website of the Shanghai Hongkou District Government on October 11, applications for a science and technology entrepreneurship project with a metaverse focus have now commenced. As part of this initiative, the local government body will provide eligible startups with financial support of up to 200,000 yuan ($27,878).

The official website shows that certain conditions must be met in order to apply, while several specific sectors related to the metaverse are listed, such as virtual characters, professional user-generated content, occupationally-generated content, multi-channel networks, UGC game platforms, digital twins, digital sandbox simulation, AR/VR/MR, NFT/NFR, 3D and 4D virtual world development.

Applicants need to hold access to core technology, have obtained independent intellectual property rights, or exhibit clear innovation and progress. The completed R&D investment of the project is required to be no less than 500,000 yuan.

NFT, which are commonly used outside of China, and non-fungible returns (NFR) proposed by Chinese scholars, both appeared in the government document. The core difference between NFTs and NFRs is that the former highlights the attributes of tokens, while the latter emphasizes equity. NFRs are no longer simply about buying and selling virtual assets, but are intended to build real rights and interests.

In the second half of this year, Shanghai issued many documents to encourage enterprises to explore the field of NFTs, which has spurred some other provinces and cities to follow suit. The “14th Five-Year Plan” for the development of Shanghai’s digital economy announced on July 12 specifically proposed to support leading enterprises in exploring the construction of NFT trading platforms.

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Since the beginning of this year, Shanghai’s Hongkou District has also been promoting metaverse-related developments. In February, Hongkou officials said they would establish a metaverse industrial fund totaling about 1 billion yuan. On August 24, a document issued by Hongkou District stated that it is expected to be a leading area for the development of Shanghai’s metaverse industry.