The market loved the metaverse in 2021
Metaverse was the big buzzword on Korean stock market this year, with all kinds of companies claiming to be building "universes" — spaces for avatars to interact in social, economic and cultural ways.
Shares of Wemade Max, a blockchain-based game developer, soared 1,499.3 percent from Jan. 1 to Dec. 28, according to data from the Korea Exchange. That was the sharpest growth on the Korean stock market this year.
Shares of Wemade, parent company of Wemade Max, jumped 846.1 percent, while visual effects company Wysiwyg Studios rose 527.4 percent.
Shares in game publisher Devsisters, known for its Cookie Run game, rose 513.2 percent while Com2uS Holdings grew 491.6 percent. Its subsidiary Com2uS unveiled its latest metaverse platform Com2Verse on Dec. 28, and Com2uS Holdings shares rose 16.1 percent on the day.
The two companies in the top 10 without metaverse aspirations were Edison EV, which ranked second, and BNC Korea, which ranked sixth.
Shares in Edison EV skyrocketed 1244.4 percent over the year, largely driven by Edison Motors’ plan to acquire SsangYong Motors. BNC Korea jumped 492.9 percent.
Aside from individual equities, exchange traded funds (ETFs) that invest in global metaverse companies experienced a similar boom.
Samsung Asset Management’s Kodex K-metaverse Active ETF attracted 500 billion won ($420.2 million) in assets in only two months. Mirae Asset’s Tiger Fn Metaverse ETF attracted 418 billion won.
The net assets of eight ETFs that invest in metaverse-related companies trading locally totaled 1.5 trillion won.
Analysts have mixed opinions on the future of metaverse-related companies. NH Investment & Securities, SK Securities and Hana Financial Investment chose metaverse as the big stock keyword for 2022.
“2021 will be remembered as the year that metaverse became a business beyond a theme,” said Hwang Seung-taek, a researcher at the Hana Financial Investment. “The market’s attention will continue.”
Seo Beom-jin, head of Growth Management Division, agreed.
“If people can experience the metaverse more in their daily lives, investments are expected to grow,” Seo said. “The metaverse will be able to replace the internet in the future."
But some warned investors about putting money in metaverse-related stocks, as share prices are likely to be swing.
“Game and content companies are very volatile and unpredictable,” said researcher Kwak Chan from Korea Investment Management.
BY KIM YEON-JOO, SARAH CHEA [firstname.lastname@example.org]