China's most populous city is set to receive a major XR upgrade amid the country's ambitious tech plans
Shanghai, China’s most populous city, is set to create five industrial regions valued at $70 billion USD up to 2030, with one boosting the nation’s emerging tech and extended reality (XR) capabilities, Yicai Global reported on Thursday.
The new clusters will focus on energy, space exploration, healthcare, materials research, and intelligence along with other key emerging technologies.
Regarding the intelligence cluster, it will focus on artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and 6G, among others, in a bid to position the city for its digital transformation and global leadership aims.
The municipal government also plans to build five technical colleges to attract and train fresh talent in its tech sector. It will also develop 15 industrial innovation centres to facilitate emerging technologies.
The news comes after further reports in August revealed an additional $9.24 billion for 32 industrial projects across Shanghai’s business district, Pudong. Funding comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Chinese industry and businesses in its latest wave from March to May.
Officials such as Li Hui, Pudong Science Technology and Economy Commission Director, granted funding to 13 global tech leaders, including General Electric, Nokia, Lenovo, and BASF to create startup incubators in the district. Many of the companies are leaders in XR and smart city technologies.
The news comes after Chinese media reported Shanghai aims to boost its 5G network infrastructure to accommodate emerging tech demand for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) across national industry verticals.
China’s 1.85 million 5G base stations service 450 million users, or 60 percent of total 5G users worldwide.
The Shanghai government also backed in July a $52 billion metaverse plan up to 2025, as indicated in its Five Year Plan. It outlines a massive initiative to create processors, XR devices, AI, cloud and edge computing, 5G, blockchain, and other emerging technologies.
China Unicom recently joined the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games, teaming up with Huawei Technologies to provide AR-backed statistics for attendees.
The news comes amid increasing rivalry in the global tech community, namely as governments compete for top spots among the world’s tech hubs.
Locations such as the United States, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Brussels have begun their own metaverse ambitions with new legislation, funding, and R&D initiatives.
The latest efforts also aim to upscale China’s domestic technological capabilities, namely amid the ongoing trade war and increasing rivalry with the United States.
Numerous sanctions have triggered urgent demand for domestically-produced tech solutions after former US President Donald Trump slapped Beijing with sanctions, restrictions, and blacklistings.
Several affected companies include Huawei and ZTE. ByteDance and others were later targeted but not blacklisted along with the world’s largest telecom company.
Huawei Rotating Chairman Ken Hu recently urged global telecom providers to develop more 5G use cases across verticals to improve interoperability, competition, and green solutions.
The tech giant has also called on global tech companies to collaborate on 6G and eMBB+ connectivity to accommodate the rise of the Metaverse, the spatial communications platform set to succeed the Internet.
Despite trade restrictions, Shenzhen-based firm has developed several key emerging tech solutions. These will include its new VR Glass headset, cloud computing solutions, and AR smart glasses.
It also backs plans to develop Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for its Harmony operating system (OS), including connected car technologies. Other firms such as Nreal and ByteDance’s Pico Interactive have released novel AR smart glasses and MR headsets, respectively, expanding China’s immersive ecosystem.