6 Technology Trends in China to Watch for in 2023

6 Technology Trends in China to Watch for in 2023

RADII’s predictions for the tech world in 2023 range from the revival of the gaming industry to more creative livestreaming

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Hayley Zhao
1:11 PM HKT, Thu January 5, 2023 5 mins read

To call 2022 a tough year for China would be putting it lightly, what with continuous citywide lockdowns due to Covid-19, event cancelations or postponements, and a stagnant job market.


However, the advancement of technology hasn’t slowed. If anything, people depended on the internet more than ever while stuck at home. With Covid-19 restrictions finally easing up, and people gearing up to enter a post-pandemic New Year, here are some of RADII’s predictions for the tech world in 2023:

1. More Metaverse and Virtual Reality

You can’t talk about technology in 2022 without bringing up the metaverse. In fact, the word holds the second spot on Oxford’s Word of the Year list. You’ll probably see even more of the metaverse in your everyday life in 2023, as the trend seems to be growing stronger in China.


The terminology was first introduced to China in 2021, and soon gained popularity among members of the tech community. With support from central and local government, the industry boomed this year, and will carry on growing with continued investments.


China seems to have set its mind set on taking a leading role in the development of the metaverse. During an interview with RADII, Alvin Wang Graylin, president of electronics company HTC Corporation, expressed his belief that China will be the first country in the world to achieve a nationwide metaverse. More than 15 cities in the country have established 29 different policies supporting the industry’s growth.


College students can even declare a major in metaverse studies at a university in Nanjing in Eastern China. A blueprint mapped out at a recent metaverse conference revealed that the industry aims to generate 200 billion RMB (around 28 billion USD) in revenue in the near future.


VR

China’s top VR brand Pico collaborated with celebrities to promote immersive World Cup-viewing experiences using VR headsets. Image via Weibo


The metaverse’s success largely depends on VR technology, which is dominated by a few tech giants. In 2021, TikTok owner Bytedance acquired Beijing-based VR company Pico, and launched a new line of headsets called Pico 4 globally. Pico has collaborated with Chinese influencers and celebrities to market its robust gaming and entertainment content. Something to look forward to in 2023: Pico is scheduled to release its own metaverse platform called Project Pico Worlds, which will work in tandem with the brand’s headset devices.


“There are going to be more and more companies saying that they do metaverse things,” said Eric Liu, chief technology officer of China-based metaverse company DIGITWIN Technologies, in an interview with RADII.


According to Liu, the metaverse will make its presence felt in areas beyond the video game industry, infiltrating our everyday life. He believes that true change will happen when Apple releases its version of AR glasses.


“We all know [the Apple AR glasses] are coming,” said Liu. “My friends at Apple, they all say that the energy is basically like the first time the iPhone was about to come out.”


“I can't wait for the day when I wake up, and instead of looking at my phone, just put on a pair of glasses so that I can go about my day but still experience and access all this information without staring at my phone,” said Liu optimistically.

2. NFTs Will Still Be a Thing

In late September 2021, the Chinese government officially banned all cryptocurrency transactions in the country. However, NFT products or ‘digital collectibles’ (数字藏品), as they’re called in China, exist in a grey area without clear and comprehensive regulations.


As such, tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent introduced their own NFT platforms in 2021, and digital tokens boomed in early 2022. Brands hopped on the opportunity to release viral digital collections; take Li-Ning’s collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), for example.

However, NFTs in China has taken a big hit in 2022. Tencent even closed its platform Huanhe after only a year after its launch. Despite the temporary setback, the market is still projected to see growth. According to a report from iResearch, a market research and consulting company in China, the country’s digital collection market reached about 280 million RMB (around 40 million USD) in 2021, and might hit 28 billion RMB (around 4 billion USD) in 2026.


In the coming year, more brands might try to combine NFT with physical products so customers may feel like they’re getting more than just a 2D image. Nike recently launched its own Web 3 platform for future NFT trading, signaling that brands are still optimistic about the future of digital tokens.


Even though Donald Trump’s new NFT collection that was released in mid-December has made the concept uncool again, more youth and artists have been embracing the art form and building their careers around it. A perfect example of this, as RADII has reported on, is high schooler Alice Miao, who has made a name for herself designing virtual reality dresses. We should be expecting to see more creativity in the field of NFTs in 2023.

3. Revival of the Gaming Industry

If anyone has truly struggled in 2022, it would be personnel in the gaming industry. Revenue in the industry has dropped three quarters in a row, gaming giant Blizzard terminated its services in China, and Chinese gaming company Lilith dissolved its entire team for its fantasy mobile game Art of Conquest 2. Not only were gaming licenses suspended, but the government has also made an effort to limit gaming time for all minors in the country.


That being said, gaming enthusiasts will be presented with more entertainment options as Covid-19 restrictions loosen up in China. After all, China is still home to the largest esports market in the world and boasts a growing female audience.


genshin impact

Genshin Impact by Chinese gaming giant Mihoyo is the third highest-grossing mobile game in the world. Image via Twitter


Despite being a tough year, 2022 still brought us the billion-dollar mobile game Sheep-A-Sheep or Yang Le Ge Yang (羊了个羊). So can the gaming industry dig itself out of its current slump, and see a successful overseas run with Honor of Kings and Genshin Impact? We’ll have to wait and see.

4. More Creative Livestreaming

With continuous lockdowns happening all through 2022, livestreaming has remained a favorite form of entertainment or means to purchase products in China. From Taiwanese singer-personal trainer Liu Genghong aka Will Liu’s sudden fame to the return of lipstick king Li Jiaqi, China’s livestreamers have been doing well for themselves.


In the coming year, however, livestreaming needs to evolve in accordance with new trends. As mentioned prior, the metaverse has been trending, and merchants have been coming up with creative ways to utilize AI avatars. Many brands, big or small, have tried using AI-generated avatars instead of real people to host livestreaming events for obvious reasons: AI personalities come cheaper and can ‘work’ 24/7 without resting or complaining.

5. AI Takes Over the World?

Certain topics have been trending on Chinese social media this winter.


AI art generators are one of them. Chinese netizens, who have been having a lot of fun with such platforms, have shared their hilarious art fails on Chinese social media platforms like Xiaohongshu.


Another trending topic is the AI chatbox system called Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer or ChatGPT. Hoping to find shortcuts to finishing their homework, some high schoolers tried using the system, but ended up with some funny answers.


ai art

An AI art generator fail. Image via Xiaohongshu


However, the fast advancement of AI has also raised concerns over whether it will completely take over human jobs. The viral art generator and chatbot all have received criticism for hurting creative industries.


The thought of being replaced by robots can be scary. (If you really enjoy chilling thought experiments regarding a robot apocalypse, Google ‘Roko’s Basilisk.’ RADII takes no responsibility for the nightmares.) However, we for sure will see more use of AI in our daily lives in the coming years. Forbes magazine listed AI as the number one technology trend to watch for 2023. The ethical questions that come with the advancement of AI will always remain a hot topic.

6. The Crossover of Different Technologies

As you have probably guessed from the five points above, most new tech innovations are interconnected. For instance, there would be no metaverse without VR or AR technology, and AI is absolutely necessary when programming avatars that are used during livestreaming.


“For example, you can imagine how ChatGPT [could be] integrated with some type of photorealistic avatar, where human beings can be talking to these avatars,” said Liu, CTO of DIGITWIN Technologies. “It’s gonna be hard to distinguish if it’s a real person or not.”


Such merges could really streamline things when put to good use. Imagine building an avatar with the skills of a mental health therapist, which works around the clock.


However, AI and avatars are also a double-edged sword, and many have raised concerns about online scams and identity theft. China will roll out new regulations banning all AI artwork without watermarks from January 2023 onwards. However, the internet is a hard thing to control, and the regulation’s efficacy will be put to the test.


Cover image designed by Zhouhan Shao

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