Zepeto, Asia’s Largest Metaverse Platform, to Upscale Its Global Expansion Plans

Zepeto, Asia’s Largest Metaverse Platform, to Upscale Its Global Expansion Plans

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Zepeto, the largest metaverse platform in Asia, is ramping up its global development to compete with Big Tech companies investing billions in building avatar-filled virtual worlds.

Since its debut in 2018, Zepeto, which Korean tech group Naver owns, has drawn 340 million users. It is dominated by young female users, unlike rival platforms established by game companies.

The K-pop and fashion-focused avatar platform, valued at more than $1 billion, has attracted investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund II and Korean entertainment companies JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and Hybe.

“We have a long way to go to be more of a globally dominant player, but we are very much on the right track,” said Ricky Kang, Head of Business at Naver Z, the subsidiary operating the Zepeto platform.

The three-dimensional metaverse is the next central tech platform, and companies like Microsoft and Facebook parent company Meta are staking billions on its success.

Zepeto has grown swiftly to be Asia’s most prominent virtual destination. It has 15 million to 20 million active monthly users, mainly in South Korea, Japan, and China. Of those, 70% are female, and most are between the ages of 13 and 21.

It will take a lot of work to catch up with US rival Roblox, a $50 billion online gaming company with 200 million monthly active players who likewise has a passionate pre-teen fan base.

Zepeto, accessed primarily through a smartphone app, has made money from its user base by allowing them to personalize their avatars, create their own virtual worlds, and design and trade millions of items, mostly clothes, accessories, and hairstyles.

It operates a licensing model and collaborates with luxury and athletic fashion brands, including Gucci, Bulgari, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and Nike.

Additionally, Disney and Universal have signed IP partnerships with Naver Z. Blackpink, a girl group represented by YG, had held a virtual signing on the site throughout the pandemic.

Last year, the South Korean government launched a “Metaverse Alliance” of more than 200 companies and institutions. It has earmarked almost $8 billion from its 2022 budget for the country’s next digital transformation.

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