Yahoo joins Facebook owner Meta in testing metaverse tech in Hong Kong

Yahoo will launch a series of metaverse activities in Hong Kong to explore the use of immersive advertising technologies, the US internet company said on Wednesday, a day after Facebook owner Meta Platforms announced similar plans.

According to Yahoo’s announcement, the company wants to hold virtual concerts and exhibitions on popular metaverse platform Decentraland, featuring local idol groups and artists. It also plans to release a limited amount of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“Yahoo Hong Kong has always been providing a wide range of online services that are relevant to people’s daily lives, including using the latest technology to improve and enhance the user experience,” said Lorraine Cheung, head of audiences at Yahoo Hong Kong. “We hope to use the metaverse to connect people regardless of time and physical location.”

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The front door of Yahoo’s metaverse on Decentraland. Photo: Handout alt=The front door of Yahoo’s metaverse on Decentraland. Photo: Handout>

Some 86 per cent of members of Gen Z – people in their 20s to early 30s – expect their digital experiences and interactions to be seamless with the real world, and over 80 per cent of Hong Kongers are interested or already engaging in immersive experience, according to Roger Li, senior director of ad creative at Yahoo Creative Studios in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The next wave of digital shoppability is here,” Li said.

This week, Yahoo is also launching an NFT exhibition called “The Abyss of Kwun Tong” in iconic collaboration with local creators about the Hong Kong neighborhood that has been transformed by redevelopment projects.

The move comes as other tech companies have also chosen Hong Kong as a testing ground to pursue various metaverse-related activities.

On Tuesday, Facebook owner Meta announced plans for a series of metaverse initiativesincluding exhibitions and workshops, to provide related experiences to the city’s 7.4 million residents.

Earlier this week, the asset management arm of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics launched Hong Kong’s first exchange-traded fund focusing on blockchain technology, which underpins the development of the metaverse.

By 2030, annual global spending related to the metaverse could reach US$5 trillion, according to a recent report from consulting firm McKinsey. E-commerce, virtual learning, advertising and gaming will be among the top sectors contributing to the market, it said.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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