South Korea’s ICT ministry said Tuesday the country has launched an industry alliance to bolster the development of “metaverse” technology and ecosystems.

The metaverse refers to a shared virtual space, in which users interact with each other through digital avatars and experience a virtual reality (VR) world.

The new alliance is composed of 17 companies, including major wireless carrier SK Telecom Co, as well as auto giant Hyundai Motor Co., and eight industry groups, such as the Korea Mobile Internet Business Association, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The companies and industry groups will work together to share metaverse trends and technology, and form a consultative group for ethical and cultural issues related to the metaverse market. The alliance will also undertake joint metaverse development projects.

The ministry said it will provide support to the alliance, especially in helping companies establish an open metaverse platform.

The technology remains in the early stages of development in South Korea, with SK Telecom currently operating its Jump VR app, which allows users to interact with others in a virtual space.

In March, the mobile carrier held a welcoming ceremony for new students at Soon Chun Hyang University on its VR platform. (Yonhap)