Where's the Cloud in China's "Shared Future in Cyberspace"?
Plus: How Unity China is helping to create China's budding metaverse
Unity China & the Metaverse
About a month ago, I wrote about the budding partnership between Unity China (itself a new regional spinoff of the famed game engine developer) and Tencent Cloud, which included a push to promote the creation of standards for digital twin and big data visualization tech.
Most recently, Unity China has been on a minor PR blitz in Shanghai, including their recent appearance at the fifth China International Import Expo (where they advertised everything from their new HairFX system and Cloud Editor to a new creator platform for automobile manufacturers) as well as the “Unity Metaverse Ecosystem Forum” held on November 7.
In the latter event, Unity China carried out a series of discussions on the theme of the metaverse and relevant technologies, including talks given by partners such as Oppo and Alibaba Yuanjing (a cloud gaming brand started by Alibaba last September). The company also showed off some applications for its real-time 3D technology, spanning areas such as gaming, vehicles, smart manufacturing, city infrastructure, cultural tourism, and retail.
Unity China CEO Zhang Junbo described Unity China’s plans for development:
Creating a domestic, self-developed engine (in other words, presumably a China-specific Unity engine).
Developing solutions for industry verticals.
Building a metaverse ecosystem together with businesses in both upstream and downstream sectors of the industry chain as well as cooperative partners.
Promoting the high-quality development of China’s industries in general.
Alibaba Yuanjing CEO Wang Mao discussed how cloud-based gamesare an essential path for the metaverse to take, as well as one of its core concepts.
Zhu Hong, executive vice president at China Mobile subsidiary Migu,stated that computing networks would become a new force promoting organic development of the metaverse, as well as in promoting digitalization in areas such as industry, transportation, and smart cities.
As major cities throughout China outline and commence their own plans for metaverse development, Unity China will likely take on a greater role as China’s metaverse ecosystem grows.
Unity WeChat Account: Unity中国携三大全球首发亮相进博会，不断深化实时3D技术应用场景
Unity WeChat Account: 进博进行时：Unity元宇宙生态论坛成功举办
State Council White Paper: “Building a Community With a Shared Future in Cyberspace”
As the newest World Internet Conference is held in Wuzhen, the State Council issued a white paper titled “Building a Community With a Shared Future in Cyberspace.”The title is taken from the ongoing theme of the conferences, tied to Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the second conference's opening ceremony in 2015.
All in all, the paper serves as both a mission statement for China’s internet efforts (both domestic and global) as well as a self-penned summary of its recent technical achievements.
While the scope of the paper is fairly broad, there are several pertinent sections discussing cloud:
China’s use of IPv6 technology
China has worked to promote the application of IPv6 technology.It has built the foundations of a global IPv6+ network for the in-depth integration and transformation of enterprise communications technology, information technology, cloud computing, and big data technology, as well as aid in the construction of the Digital Silk Road and innovation in IPv6 applications.
For the first time, the CT-EC Express Connect serviceused SRv6 technology in the context of interconnected international cloud target networks. This technology can be used to access public and private clouds both in China and abroad and achieve end-to-end cross-domain deployment and service provisioning within minutes. It has already been used in more than 10 countries and regions in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Supporting cloud technology outside China
There has been development in innovative applications for new technologies such as cloud computing and AI. In 2020, China began to provide support for cloud services in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, as well as in the nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
An example of cloud-based international cooperation
Through the World Data Centre for Microorganisms, China has effectively leveraged resources such as cloud service platforms to create a cooperative global network for data on microorganisms that includes participants from 51 countries and 141 cooperative partners. It has also taken the lead in creating the Global Catalog of Microorganisms to promote the effective usage of microorganism data resources from around the world.
I recommend checking out the entire piece if you have the time — links to both Chinese and English versions of the white paper are available directly below.
State Council: 携手构建网络空间命运共同体
Xinhua (via State Council): 国务院新闻办公室发布《携手构建网络空间命运共同体》白皮书
Subscribe to Cloudology for free insights into Chinese cloud & tech.
More context for those unfamiliar: Unity is one of the top engines for developing XR software (encompassing virtual/augmented/mixed reality), as well as games in general. The Unity engine also has a proven track record of powering metaverse experiences such as Meta’s own Horizon Worlds.
Note that Migu has a history of seeking opportunities in the metaverse.
For additional context, refer to Cloudology’s own two-part deep dive into China’s national initiative for creating a country-wide data computing network.
Technically the title is “Jointly Build a Community With a Shared Future in Cyberspace,” （携手构建网络空间命运共同体), but I prefer my translation.
As a bit of linguistic trivia, the related phrase “community of common destiny” (人类命运共同体) has also popped up in Party speeches for about a decade.
IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. Elsewhere in the document, it’s mentioned that China has made large-scale efforts to update its networks to use IPv6 technology and increase support for the protocol, mentioning that the country had 697 million active IPv6 users as of this past July.
CT-EC Express Connect (云间高速) is a cloud resource pooling product operated by Tianyi Cloud (China Telecom’s cloud brand).
As the attached link notes, SRv6 is “ a next-generation IP bearer protocol that combines Segment Routing (SR) and IPv6.”