Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent has filed for a virtual concerts patent with the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), according to business data-tracker Qichacha. The application comes as Chinese companies race to secure metaverse trademarks.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) took a strong stance against the Metaverse and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) in November, stating that it would track them with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) tools. However, according to the Chinese news outlet The Paper, more than a thousand Chinese companies have submitted over 16,000 metaverse-related trademark applications.
Despite the warnings, the Chinese multinational technology and video-game colossus Tencent has been leading China’s charge into the Metaverse.
According to the South China Morning Post, sources claim that Tencent sent out an internal letter to its employees in October last year, concerning the creation of a new “F1” studio under its subsidiary, TiMi Studios, that will involve employees from China, the United States, Canada and Singapore.
On December 31 of last year, Tencent held China’s first-ever virtual concert in the Metaverse, a New Years celebration called TMELAND which saw over 1.1 million fans join in over the duration of the festival. Tencent has also acquired Los Angeles-based animated concert company Wave, which uses motion-capture technology to create realistic virtual concerts.
Wave concerts have been extremely successful in the past and grew in popularity during the pandemic as a new way for musicians to engage with fans. When The Weeknd used Wave services to broadcast a virtual concert live on TikTok in August last year, it drew approximately two million viewers globally and raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative.
It remains to be seen whether the ambitions of the Chinese multinational will be affected by local regulators. Speaking at a national financial security summit on Nov. 26, Gou Wenjun, director of the AML unit at the PBoC, warned of the dangers associated with the new trends of the crypto ecosystem such as NFTs and the Metaverse. He claimed that these assets could be easily used for illicit purposes such as money laundering and tax evasion if left unregulated.
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has also issued a warning about the Metaverse back on Dec. 9, stating that “regulation should be encouraged to come before innovation.”
Despite the ominous foreshadowing from national media and state-controlled banks, China has still not provided any further clarity on related regulations.