South Korea's 'metaverse' province says it will use the virtual platform to expand ties with Vietnam

South Korea's Gyeongbuk province plans to use the meta-version to expand economic and other ties with Vietnam, provincial governor Lee Cheol-woo said on Friday during a visit to the Southeast Asian country. 

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 "We prioritize expanding economic, cultural, trade and people-to-people exchanges with Vietnam using the metaverse," Lee said in Gyeongbuk, Vietnam's Bắc Ninh province, according to a  press release on Monday. 

 Exact investment amounts  have not been decided, said a spokesman for Gyeongbuk province, which in February declared itself the "meta capital" of South Korea with regulatory exemptions and tax incentives. 

 Metaverse refers to a network of 3D virtual worlds accessed through virtual reality headsets as part of the next iteration of the decentralized Internet, or Web3, built around  the blockchain underlying  cryptocurrencies. 

 The province announced in June that it will invest 18 billion Korean won ($13.8 million) to establish itself as a center for metaversal innovation based on the country's technology and cultural content. The province estimates that the initiative will increase the value of the region by a trillion won. 

 South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was elected in March of this year, added the metaverse and Web3 development to his list of national priorities. Also this year, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced that it will invest 185 million dollars to support the growth of industries related to the metaverse. The Prime Minister of neighboring Japan, 

 Fumio Kishida,  also announced investments in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFT) in October this year, and named Web3 development as one of the new pillars of the country's economic growth.


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