As the concept of the metaverse – a virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work – becomes increasingly popular in China and around the world, companies are thinking about how to benefit from it. 

As part of the Beyond Expo tech conference, held at the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Center in Macau, TechNode talked to tech experts about the best ways to enter and make money from the burgeoning metaverse ecosystem.

The text below has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Shi Chengqiu, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at Nvidia China

“We at Nvidia consider ourselves the builders of the metaverse at this stage. We want to focus on working with our partners, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) device makers, cloud companies, and computing companies, to build a healthy ecosystem. Maybe in the future, we will be a participant in the virtual space. 

“China has 1.4 billion people and a vast internet user base. Many people have one or two devices to get online. So if we build a metaverse ecosystem that Chinese people find convenient to use for work, socializing, and entertainment, we might be able to make money from that.

Shi Chengqiu, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at Nvidia China at the 2021 Beyond Expo. (Image credit: Beyond Expo)

“I think it will be a three-step process for Nvidia to position itself in the metaverse. First, be a builder, then a participant, and lastly, a business making money from the metaverse.” 

Angela Pan, CEO of Eyexpo Technology 

“Top internet giants are moving quicker than others in reacting to the metaverse concept. Next year, many mid-sized companies will start to lead the moves. Those companies provide solutions to connect the giants with smaller suppliers. 

Angela Pan, CEO of Eyexpo Technology at the 2021 Beyond Expo. (Image credit: Beyond Expo)

“The simple first step to enter the metaverse for most companies is to create related content. For example, many live broadcast events are now using virtual characters and virtual intellectual property (IP), creating metaverse-related content. Smaller companies should cultivate unique IPs and find mid-sized solution companies to help them build a small metaverse environment rather than building the metaverse themselves since most of the metaverse infrastructure will need to be made by specialized technological companies.” 

Yang Xiaokang, Executive Chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at Shanghai Jiao Tong University

“From the perspective of academia, the metaverse is a problem of fusing the virtual world and the natural world and doing it more efficiently. AI researchers are looking into how AI can calculate faster and improve this fusion. For example, we often use the phrase ‘AI empowerment’, but empowerment still means AI is dependent on others instead of AI as an independent product. I think AI may have its own independent product in the metaverse. 

“The metaverse will be using a lot of AI technologies in the future. Take the identification issue, for example. We need AI to authenticate people’s real identities and their virtual identities.

Yang Xiaokang, Executive Chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at Shanghai Jiao Tong University at the 2021 Beyond Expo. (Image credit: Beyond Expo)

“Another example is linking one’s social groups and behavior. Efficiency will be essential if we need to map the real-world organization in the virtual world or even create new organizations. If we want to create lots of content and organizations, we need to rely on AI to improve efficiency. 

“We are also making virtual humans. I have shown Angela Pan some examples. For instance, if we upload a picture of our face, we can generate a very detailed and realistic digital face. We can also generate a three-dimensional match from a highly complex movement of a rotating figure-skater. The metaverse is very exciting for us AI researchers, and I hope to work with everyone here.”