Thursday, March 1, 2007

Virtual Land, Real Money

What began as a game with an initial investment of 9,95$ for a Second Life account has grown into a serious business.

Anshe Chung is the online identity for a Chinese-born language teacher living near Frankfurt, Germany. She's the best-known executive in Second Life, an online world run by Linden Lab of San Francisco. Known inside the world as the Rockefeller of Second Life, she prefers to keep her real name private to deter intrusions into her human life.

Today ACS already turns over several million US$ worth of virtual land, goods and services per year, with an average monthly growth rate above 10%. In 2006 the government of Hubei, China has granted Anshe chung Studios special status as priviledged hightech enterprise, recognizing its potential as innovator and creator of highly qualified jobs in Wuhan. Currently Anshe Chung Studios employs about 20 people in China and abroad.

Chung runs a very real business buying plots of virtual land, developing them into communities complete with houses, beaches, mansions, and other features, and reselling or renting those properties to Second Life players. Since she began two years ago she has amassed land and Second Life currency -- which is convertible into real U.S. dollars -- worth more than $250,000.

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