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Seoul, the First City Government to Join the Metaverse

  In accordance with the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s five-year plan for the "Basic Conception of Metaverse Seoul", the metaverse platform will be completed by the end of next year at the latest, and will be temporarily named "Metaverse Seoul". Then, it will be introduced into the meta-universe ecosystem in three stages, involving all aspects of municipal management services, including economy, culture, tourism, education, and citizen complaints. According to Yonhap News Agency, the metaverse project plans to cost 3.9 billion won (approximately US$3.3 million), which is part of the mayor's "Seoul Vision 2030" plan to build Seoul into the city of the future.

  The city government stated that "Metaverse Seoul" will gradually realize the virtualization of citizens and corporate services, such as holding a virtual New Year's Eve ceremony, setting up a virtual mayor's office, and providing virtual services for financial technology, investment and "University Town" projects. By 2023, a comprehensive administrative center will be built, where citizens can "talk" with the network avatars of municipal officials and handle civil complaints and consultations. This virtual service hall is temporarily named "Metaverse 120 Center".

  According to the plan, major tourist attractions in Seoul such as Gwanghwamun Plaza, Deoksugung Palace and Namdaemun Market will be presented in the "virtual tourism special zone", and the disappeared historical relics will be reproduced online. In addition, from 2023, representative festivals in Seoul, such as the Lantern Festival, will also be held at this metaverse platform to facilitate participation by people from all over the world.

  The Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that it will use the meta-universe platform based on cutting-edge technology to overcome the limitations of time, space, and language to provide public services, expand its scope of application to all business areas of the city government, and improve the work efficiency of civil servants.

  Seoul City Smart City Policy Officer Park Jongsoo said, “Metaverse has achieved diversified development based on technical levels and user needs, and it will soon become a new paradigm in the post-epidemic period.” He also stated, “The Seoul Metropolitan Government will combine public needs and private technology to open up a new world of “Muniverse Seoul” and create a “Muniverse Seoul” that can be enjoyed by men, women and children, and develop Seoul into a veritable and inclusive smart city.”

  In recent years, Metaverse has become a hot topic, especially since the outbreak of the covid-19, more and more activities have been moved online. Through immersive experiences such as augmented reality and virtual reality, users can interact with computer-generated environments and other people in the virtual reality space of Metaverse, completing social, entertainment, office, and gaming activities.

  Many technology companies have deployed the meta universe. On the 28th of last month, the American social media platform Facebook announced that it was renamed "Meta", and the company's future development will prioritize the business related to metaverse.

  "The metaverse is the same as our human beings enter agriculture from primitive to agriculture, from agriculture to industry, and from industry to the Internet era. It has trans-age significance. Human beings have truly entered the era of virtual economy." Although the prospects are attractive, no one can guarantee the inevitable success. Chen Shao said that in the first year of VR in 2016, hot money poured into the VR industry. What happened? The development of VR is not as good as everyone imagined, and there is still a long way to go before it is truly popular. The same is true for Metaverse. It takes a long time to build the Metaverse. Just like chip investment, there is no return on capital in the short term.