Someone recently paid US$450,000 to be the neighbour of rapper Snoop Dogg – but in the metaverse. With Web3, the next generation of the internet enabled by blockchain technology (such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and cryptocurrencies), this parallel world encompasses everything that exists virtually, from digital art to virtual worlds and may even replace some real-world activities such as working or even just hanging out.
Like the real world, virtual land in the metaverse can be bought and sold, or even rented, by NFT aficionados who see the potential for profit. M Vision’s Metaverse Thailand allows users to buy, sell, name, and develop their own land by using a map of digital representations of Thailand’s landscapes.
Likewise, Chiang Mai launched “Chiangmai Crypto City (CCC),” an innovative project that incorporates the metaverse into the city’s development plans and actively courts self-styled metaverse companies to set up shop in their backyard.
So say goodbye to long-haul flights, travelers can now travel to other cities in just a few clicks.
The first chapter of the secondary world
For many, the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds have already blurred – thanks to virtual reality and the digital economy. The metaverse, therefore, provides an opportunity for people to showcase their NFTs purchased in the digital world.
In the future, we are likely to see consumers wearing digital clothing items they have bought in the metaverse – either in games or social spaces – as their avatar becomes more heavily linked to self-identity.
The global metaverse market is expected to reach $194.4 billion in 2022 and increasing almost fourfold to $758.6 billion by 2026, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc, helped by increased interest in virtual spaces for work and leisure during the pandemic.
Even though Thailand’s metaverse market is still in its early stages, it is eagerly welcomed by both the public and private sectors. After all, Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s frontrunners in ecommerce and 5G technology with digitally savvy population.
At the national level, the metaverse is compatible with the Thailand 4.0 initiative, in which technology, innovation, and creativity are used to create a value-based economy. In the retail sector, large Thai corporations, such as Siam Piwat and CP Group, have already incorporated the metaverse into their business strategies.
In addition, the most well-known Thai canvas shoe and sandal maker, Nanyang Group, is redoubling its commitment having established a landmark location in Metaverse Thailand providing fashion products for players to buy and wear in the game’s virtual world.
Zipmex, Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing digital asset platform, has brought additional innovations to Thailand’s NFT market by collaborating with major players in various industries, including GMM Grammy, Siam Piwat, Thai Airways, True Group, THE STANDARD, SC Asset, in addition to launching an NFT Platform called Zixel by Zipmex.
Aside from local businesses, a Singapore based NFT production house, NF1, chose Thailand as the strategic location for SEA’s NFT marketplace, highlighting Thailand’s bright future towards a fully-fledged metaverse.
A future of new and hyper-connected industries
The Board of Investment (BoI), seeing the enormous potential of the metaverse and wanting to support its future growth, is working closely with related ministries to help Thailand emerge as a leading country in the global metaverse by implementing various supportive measures such as tax exemptions and non-tax incentives for activities under Category 5.10, “Development of Software, Digital Platforms or Digital Content.”
To best utilise the country’s diverse intellectual capital to create artisanal products and services as well as digital content that appeals to global audiences, the BoI is also offering both tax and non-tax incentives to the creative industry, namely creative, digital and tourism businesses.
Amid the ongoing efforts to enhance Thailand’s position as an innovation hub, the BOI’s new strategic plan is upgrading Thailand into the big league of advanced technologies, focusing largely on the BCG model, medical and wellness sector, R&D, and S-curve industries.