Investors are betting big on virtual land. Adrian Cheng, the CEO of Hong Kong real estate giant New World Development, is one of the latest to join the party following an announcement that he will invest in The Sandbox and purchase one of its largest plots.
Cheng, who is the scion of one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families, is looking to go in big on the metaverse. His virtual world will include an “innovation hub” that highlights the business success of startups in the Greater Bay Area, a government-backed economic region that links Hong Kong and Macau with nine Guangdong cities.
The hub will also feature 10 companies, including logistics unicorn Lalamove, diagnostic and genetic testing developer Prenetics, tech accessories brand Casetify, and Alibaba-backed online cooking community DayDayCook. All the featured companies have ties with either New World Development, Cheng’s venture capital firm C Ventures, or his startup accelerator Eureka Nova. According to a press release from Cheng’s office, these startups will offer exclusive NFTs, entertainment, and immersive experiences. The CEO said:
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. The digital world is constantly evolving and we need to stay at the forefront of these changes by continuously exploring and developing the metaverse.
Cheng has been making a well-calculated move into the blockchain and metaverse space. Back in May, his VC firm took part in an $8 million funding round for RTFKT Studios, a Los Angeles-based developer of custom virtual sneakers and collectibles. In August, C Ventures led a $100 million funding round for Matrixport, a Singapore-based crypto financial services firm.