GUANGZHOU -- Leading Chinese search provider Baidu opened its self-developed metaverse to the public Monday, allowing users to interact and visit virtual locations through avatars.
People can access Baidu's metaverse, named XiRang, through an app. The platform can support up to 100,000 users at a time.
XiRang is home to a "Creator City" containing buildings that can host meetings and other events. Other locations recreate attractions such as China's Shaolin Temple.
The metaverse can be accessed using smartphones and personal computers. Individuals also can explore XiRang using virtual reality headsets made by Chinese manufacturer Pico.
A Baidu service account is needed to enter XiRang. A user can enter the metaverse after registering personal information on the app and creating an avatar.
The avatar can be moved using a controller displayed on the device screen. A user can converse with another user by approaching an avatar, pointing the device to the character and talking to it.
Baidu hosted an artificial intelligence developers conference Monday inside XiRang. CEO Robin Li and other executives spoke at the event. Baidu did not elaborate on how it will commercialize XiRang, though the company envisions the metaverse as a new growth business that utilizes its cloud and AI technologies.