Since this summer, it has been possible to purchase Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) – or “digital collectibles” as called by Chinese regulatory authorities – on platforms owned by China tech giants: Tencent and Alibaba.
Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent built an NFT purchase and collection app.
Alibaba opened a marketplace over a blockchain, backed by the Sichuan provincial government, where artists may develop and sell NFTs by auction.
On its e-commerce platforms, Alibaba has issued on Tmall “mooncake NFTs” for the Mid-Autumn Festival and sold out all 50 copies. During 11.11, they also launched Alibaba’s Metaverse Art Exhibition, displaying artwork from several brands, including Burberry, Alienware, Xpeng, and others.
What is the Difference Between Western NFTs and Digital Collectibles in China?
1️⃣ No Link with Cryptocurrency
NFTs are almost inseparable from cryptocurrency in the West, and most NFT artwork is minted on the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, sellers and buyers must own Ethereum wallets and ETH to make any NFT transactions.
However, China has reinforced the ban regarding crypto transactions this year. Chinese blockchain and NFT players try to decouple blockchain applications as much as possible from cryptocurrencies to comply with Chinese regulations.
Hence, NFTs are priced directly in RMB, and transactions are made with popular non-crypto payment methods like bank cards, Alipay and WeChat Pay.
2️⃣ Highlights the Cultural Aspect
Outside China, an NFT can be an investment, but not in China. In June, to avoid growing speculation, Alibaba banned NFTs resales once they discovered one NFT had been resold thousands of times its original price on Xianyu, its second-hand platform. Tencent followed.
Instead, NFTs are branded to support artists and show off one’s contribution to their work, as a fan would buy a record to support a musician and display it at home.
Although NFTs in China aren’t connected with cryptocurrency, does not prevent platforms, artists, brands, and consumers to dive into this digital trend with great enthusiasm. Will Western E-commerce platforms grab the NFTs opportunity as well? Most likely they will, but maybe not in the same way and not as fast as China!