Adrian Cheng: 4 business entrepreneurs and enterprises landing land in the metaverse

In land scarce Hong Kong, the chance to buy any plot of land is far and few between. But the metaverse, the digital world that is hailed as the next stomping ground, is seen as the place where one can stake out new pieces of ‘land’. The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Somnium are some of the leading virtual worlds that offer virtual real estate in the open metaverse. 

However, that’s not to say virtual land will forever be obtainable and accessible. Only a total of 268,645 parcels of land are available on the four leading worlds mentioned above, with The Sandbox making up 62 per cent of the total with 166,464 plots.

The average price of a plot of virtual land doubled to US$12,000 in just six months in 2021, according to JP Morgan. The bank itself has said it was keen to explore the many “exciting opportunities” available in the metaverse.

A record was made when a plot of virtual land sold for US$2.43 million in November 2021 on Ethereum-based virtual world, Decentraland. With all the growth in the past year, CNBC reported that the metaverse real estate market hit a value of US$500 million in 2021. 

Famous figures and corporations alike have joined the gold rush to acquire their piece of virtual real estate. Here are four business pioneers leading the way with their investment into the metaverse:

Adrian Cheng 

Adrian Cheng, CEO of New World Development and Founder of K11. Photo: New World Development

Adrian Cheng is known as the CEO of Hong Kong-based property developer New World Development. But his latest development projects may be taking place virtually. He recently purchased one of the biggest plots in The Sandbox.

Cheng’s LAND, as the non-fungible token (NFT) is known, will be part of the ‘Mega City’ virtual world that will include his planned Innovation Hub.

“I’m excited to enter the metaverse through The Sandbox. Providing platforms for the next generation to be empowered to create, innovate and feel part of something that’s paving the way for the future is critical to progress,” said Cheng. Cheng’s Innovation Hub on The Sandbox will bring to life the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Pavilion. 

The digital centre will be used to showcase a range of successful ‘real world’ GBA start-ups that Cheng has funded, incubated and supported through his personal investment portfolio, venture capital company C Ventures and start-up accelerator, Eureka Nova.

So far, the list of companies that will get their spotlight on Cheng’s LAND are: Aesir, Casetify, Lalamove, DayDayCook, Prenetics, Raspect, Rice Robotics, Rooftop Republic, Undone and V Cycle.

“The digital world is constantly evolving and we need to stay at the forefront of these changes by continuously exploring and developing the metaverse,” said Cheng.

His involvement has stirred some excitement from those involved in. “Adrian is one of the most influential leaders in business, real estate, arts and culture in Hong Kong and the region, and we are thrilled that he is joining The Sandbox to bring his unique perspective and to help add and shape new transformative experiences to the open metaverse,” said Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox. 

PwC Hong Kong

LAND in The Sandbox. Photo: Animoca Brands

Corporations too are looking to get their share of the virtual real estate boom.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four consulting firms, has also acquired LAND on The Sandbox. 

The purchase has made it the first member of an internationally recognised professional services network, and the first member firm of its own global network, to join The Sandbox. 

“The metaverse offers new possibilities for organisations to create value through innovative business models, as well as introducing new ways to engage with their customers and communities,” said William Gee, Partner at PwC Hong Kong.

The firm intends to use its experience and stake in the metaverse to help build an ecosystem where companies and brands that may be less familiar with Web 3.0 can get the advice they need to explore its related opportunities. 

“We will leverage our expertise to advise clients who wish to embrace the metaverse on the full range of challenges presented by this emerging global digital phenomenon,” said Gee.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP)

SCMP and The Sandbox collaboration. Photo: Animoca Brands

Hong Kong newspaper SCMP has launched its own metaverse experience via The Sandbox. The media outlet opted to offer metaverse residents a tour of the city’s iconic Star Ferry Pier.

Built in collaboration with Hong Kong’s metaverse studio Index Game, SCMP will draw on its extensive visual library of media and data for the immersive and gamified tour. 

“The metaverse is a digital world where real-world concepts of value and scarcity can probably exist. SCMP’s 118 years of reporting and extensive library of photographs gave us the opportunity to breathe new life into historical locations in the metaverse,” said Gary Liu, CEO of South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. “This serves as a bridge to connect with a new generation of readers and digital natives and we look forward to working closely with our partners to continue serving our audience.”

Visitors to the Star Ferry Pier on The Sandbox will be able to teleport between past and present via a virtual portal to learn of the Pier’s history. One can even ‘talk’ with the Star Ferry’s longest-serving employee, start a number of quests or chill on a virtual ferry ride. 

Snoop Dogg

The US rapper is known as a keen investor in NFTs (peep our article on celebrity collectors). So it should be no surprise that the savvy entrepreneur already owns property on The Sandbox and has big plans for it.

In fact, he has 122 plots of land, 67 plots of premium land, and 3 estates according to recent calculations. Snoop Dogg has built a virtual version of his actual Californian mansion in the Diamond Bar neighbourhood. The rap legend plans to throw exclusive parties, offer a music venue for concerts and give residents in his Snoopverse the chance to build their own experiences. 

Just like with actual real estate, an unknown buyer recently splashed US$450,000 to be his neighbour in The Sandbox. We do love a chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, even if it takes place virtually. 

Conclusion

As more investors from Adidas to Samsung get in on the virtual real estate action, it looks like the metaverse is about to mirror the crowded property market in the real world. As JP Morgan stated in its market report, the costs and risks of engaging early are relatively low. Thus, “the asymmetrical risk of being left behind is worth the incremental investment needed to get started and to explore this new digital landscape for yourself.”

In other words, better land those metaverse land deals fast.

Also see: #legendasks: How to Buy NFT on OpenSea, a step-by-step guide

In this Story: #metaverse