Adrian Cheng, CEO of Hong Kong real estate behemoth New World Development, is foraying into the metaverse with the creation of virtual land on the Sandbox blockchain gaming platform.
The Sandbox is a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming unicorn. The game allows players to create a virtual world and monetize in-game items such as digital plots of land purchased or wearables created for their avatars. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital assets that use blockchain technology to verify ownership, can be traded on the Sandbox’s marketplace.
On Thursday, Cheng announced that he will invest in the Sandbox and purchase one of its largest plots of digital land. He stated that his virtual world will include a “innovation hub” that will showcase the commercial success of startups in the Greater Bay Area, a new economic zone connecting Hong Kong and Macau with nine Guangdong cities.
Prenetics, a diagnostic and genetic test developer, Lalamove, a logistics unicorn, and Casetify, a tech accessories brand, are among the ten companies featured in the virtual world, all of which have ties or partnerships with New World Development and Cheng’s venture capital firm. According to a press release from Cheng’s office, the startups will provide NFTs, immersive experiences, and entertainment.
“It’s critical to progress to provide platforms for the next generation to be empowered to create, innovate, and feel a part of something that’s paving the way for the future,” Cheng said. “The digital world is constantly changing, and we must stay ahead of these changes by constantly exploring and developing the metaverse.”
Cheng, the son of Hong Kong billionaire Henry Cheng Kar-shun, has been venturing deeper into the metaverse, a digital realm that combines gaming, social media, cryptocurrencies, augmented and virtual reality, and allows users to interact virtually.
His venture capital firm, C Ventures, invested $8 million in RTFKT Studios, a Los Angeles-based NFT platform for virtual sneakers and collectibles, in May. In August, C Ventures led a $100 million funding round in Singapore-based crypto financial services company Matrixport.