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Metaverse

Samsung joins 200 other firms in Korea’s metaverse alliance

The public-private partnership aims to set up a metaverse ecosystem in Korea involving AR, VR and XR technologies

By Aug 03, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Samsung says that metaverse is “indispensable” (Courtesy of Samsung Display).
Samsung says that metaverse is “indispensable” (Courtesy of Samsung Display).

Samsung Electronics Co. has onboarded South Korea’s government-led metaverse alliance in a move to strengthen partnership in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors.  

According to the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) on Aug. 3, a total of 202 firms are participating in the metaverse alliance with a number of new joiners that include Samsung. Other companies that have newly joined the alliance include Shinhan Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, SM Entertainment Co., MegaStudyEdu Co. and Cheil Worldwide.

The MSIT-led metaverse alliance kicked off on May 18 with 25 firms and institutions as participants. The initial members include the country’s three telecom giants SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus, automaker Hyundai Motor Co., Naver affiliate Naver Labs Co. and Kakao affiliate Kakao Entertainment Inc. Other current members of the metaverse alliance include GIANTSTEP Inc. MAXST Co. and CJ ENM Co.

An AR image displayed on a Samsung smartphone (Courtesy of Samsung Display).
An AR image displayed on a Samsung smartphone (Courtesy of Samsung Display).

The main objective of the alliance is to establish the country’s metaverse ecosystem by growing the metaverse-related AR, VR and extended reality (XR) sectors. The alliance has also designated six key industries that will adopt more metaverse technologies moving forward: medicine, manufacturing, construction, education, retail and national defense.

AR and VR industry officials say that they have high expectations for Samsung’s involvement in the alliance. Samsung Electronics have previously developed VR devices including Gear VR and HMD Odyssey+, and is currently developing its own AR glasses.

“If Samsung can at least partially transfer some technologies to other firms within the alliance, it will accelerate the creation of a full-fledged metaverse ecosystem in Korea,” said an official of a medium-sized metaverse company.

Sources report that Samsung’s late decision to join the alliance roots from its judgment that the metaverse sector in Korea is growing faster than its initial forecast. Moreover, its global peers such as Apple, Facebook and Google are all expanding their footholds in the metaverse sector already.

“In the metaverse sector, we are currently just reviewing various options and conducting some research on relevant technologies,” said Samsung.

The metaverse alliance is also welcoming other recent joiners from the country’s banking, education and entertainment industries, in hopes of creating a wider range of business opportunities. In the most recent business meeting held on July 26, the members of the alliance discussed potential business projects in the areas of finance, shopping, exhibition and digital twin.

The government will also provide active support for various projects to be launched by the participating firms, amounting up to 30 billion won ($26 million) in 2022 alone.

“We will select about 10 projects by October and provide sufficient financial support for each of them,” said an MSIT official.

Write to Min-jun Suh at morandol@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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