More and more Chinese tech giants, including the search firm Baidu, are trademarking metaverse terms even as China continues to issue warnings about it

More and more Chinese tech giants, including the search firm Baidu, are trademarking metaverse terms even as China continues to issue warnings about it
The Metaverse booth is pictured during the media day of Apsara Conference 2021 on October 18, 2021 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. The Apsara Conference 2021 of Alibaba Cloud will be held on October 19-22 in Hangzhou. VCG/Getty Images
  • A day after Facebook announced its name change, Baidu applied to trademark the term "metaapp."
  • The gaming giant NetEase is also said to have filed trademark applications related to the metaverse.

China's tech giants are acquiring metaverse-related trademarks as competition in the space heats up - even though the government has warned against the futuristic concept.

Last Friday, a day after Facebook - which is banned in China - announced its corporate name change to Meta, the Chinese search-engine giant Baidu applied to trademark the term "metaapp." Baidu trademarked the term under the categories of scientific instruments and design research, the South China Morning Post reported. Baidu declined comment to Insider.

At the same time, the Chinese gaming giant NetEase has also filed dozens of trademark applications related to the metaverse, the SCMP reported, citing information from the Chinese business-registration-tracking platform Qichacha. Trademarked terms in Chinese include "NetEase metaverse" and those related to its gaming and artificial-intelligence units, such as "Fuxi metaverse" and "Leihuo metaverse."

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The applications span categories including design research, communications services, and education and entertainment, the Hong Kong newspaper reported. NetEase did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The Nasdaq-listed NetEase and Baidu are not the only ones jumping on the bandwagon. Tencent and ByteDance have taken steps into the space. The e-commerce giant Alibaba, too, has registered several trademarks, including "Ali Metaverse," related to the buzzword.


The term metaverse refers to shared virtual spaces that people can access via the internet using virtual-reality and augmented-reality devices. The tech buzzword was thrust into the limelight when Facebook announced its name change to Meta to reflect its focus on the concept.

More than 400 companies in China have registered trademarks for terms related to the metaverse so far, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal's Chinese edition on Wednesday.

It's a race to the forefront of the space, which Bloomberg Intelligence estimates could be worth $800 billion by 2024.

Officially though, China may not be so enthusiastic about the metaverse. In an October research note, the state-run think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, which is affiliated with China's Ministry of State Security, warned of national security issues linked to the metaverse, the SCMP reported.

"There might be regulatory gaps in areas such as anti-money-laundering, sanctions, financial supervision, and intellectual property rights protection, and this will drive the international community to explore cooperation," CICIR wrote, per the SCMP.


Last month, the state-owned media outlet Security Times also cautioned against investing in the concept, which is still in its infancy.

"Investment is not a virtual game," the report said. "Blindly investing into such grand and illusionary concepts such as the metaverse may ultimately come back to hurt your pockets."