Bought in the Metaverse, made in China.

Back in November, China officially launched the China Recreation District (CRD). An initiative to create a virtual economy providing infrastructure and platforms through which any business from anywhere can come in "world" and sell their real-world products and services. CRD is a partnership between private industry and the Chinese government operating in an 80-square-kilometer complex in West Beijing that is still under development. This huge facitily houses 200 game and multimedia content producers, incubators, room for virtual worlds partners (China Mobile, Everbright Bank), data centers, entrepreneurship centers, training facilities, in time a real-world amusement park, a game center, and more.

I had a chance to interview CRD's Chief Scientist Robert Lai at the Virtual Worlds Expo and Conference 2007 in San Jose,Ca to find out what he thinks about virtual worlds.

CRD operates under the "DOTMAN" brand with six virtual spaces: DOTLIFE - provides 3D models and databases for individuals and companies in the world DOTBANK - banking and transaction services, DOTMEDIA - communications services, DOTSPACE - content pooling, trading platforms, and libraries for 3D models, animations, films, games, and other digital content, DOTGAME - online games, DOTBASE - Internet-related services from customer service to bandwidth. The entire project is expected to go live in June 2008. Between now and the end of 2010, the CRD, intends to bring 150 million middle-class Chinese people and companies into their virtual world platform.

What is so amazing about this? IF China pulls this off, consumers around the world will be directly connected with Chinese manufacturers. We are talking a MAJOR change to the current retail structure. This means that you can use your avatar (with your real dimensions) to try on clothes, see how you look in them, then click and buy those clothes at a fraction of the price. No middleman, no insane markup to pay sports celebs for marketing or Art Deco stores. Think about it. Will we go into a retail store to wait in line, get little help from some teenage employee, and pay $30+ for a shirt, when we can buy the same shirt for $5 from the comfort of our own home?



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