Indonesia Takes on Google and Meta With New Metaverse Initiative for Local Firms

Indonesia has asked the state carrier PT Telkom to build “metaNesia”, a metaverse platform that will promote local firms to compete with foreign service providers.
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Quick take: 

  • Indonesia has launched a metaverse initiative to support local firms.
  • The Southeast Asian nation wants to promote small businesses that compete with foreign online service providers.
  • It is part of the country’s broader strategy of taking back control of the internet from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Indonesia has accelerated its plans to take back control of the internet from foreign tech giants with the launch of “metaNesia”. The Southeast Asian nation has tasked the state carrier PT Telkom to build the metaverse platform that will help promote local firms.

The metaverse is a 3D virtual space of interconnected worlds that allows people to participate in immersive experiential activities like blockchain games and entertainment events.

Its adoption in the mainstream has accelerated since October last year when Facebook rebranded to Meta Platforms. The new industry’s adoption has also been fueled by a continuous flow of venture funding toward Web3 products, a decentralised format of the internet, which has been christened as the next iteration of the web.

Southeast Asia has been one of the leading early adopters of the metaverse and Web3 projects, and Indonesia wants to be at the forefront of that race by helping local businesses compete with their relatively richer international rivals.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and Erick Thohir, the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises thinks metaNesia can “help the economy adapt to the fast-changing online landscape frequented by its young population,” Bloomberg reported.

“Don’t let other countries create a new world with their own payment system, while the market remains in Indonesia. Then we will regret it,” he said on Sunday.

Although there is no clear long-term plan about how the state-driven metaverse initiative will work in Indonesia, Thohir’s initial plan is to allow micro-, small, and mid-sized enterprises in the country “to showcase their goods on an equal footing with larger foreign businesses.”

Thohir also views metaNesia as a platform that could allow organisations to offer crucial social services like online health consultations to a wider population.

The services currently enlisted for the metaNesia platform include “Metaverse Mall to feature shops, service centres and entertainment, as well as a Metaverse Concert for events,” the statement read.

The platform is also expected to add more features and services later this year, including an NFT marketplace, virtual meetings, and even yoga and esports functions.

Indonesia is not the only country to launch a state-backed metaverse initiative in Asia, South Korea, Japan and China are among several countries in the region that look to take an early lead in the metaverse race.

Last month, the Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) launched a Web3 Policy Office to formulate metaverse-related policies. On the other hand, South Korea is in the process of implementing its metaverse plan, which it backed with a $186.7 million commitment earlier this year.

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