Shares of VCG broke the daily limit by 10% at 14.34 yuan ($2.15) minutes after the market opened on Thursday, after also gaining 10% on Wednesday.

Vault marks another foray into NFTs by the visual media giant. In December, VCG launched a national platform called Yuan Shijue, which means “visual meta”. Yuan Shijue supports so-called digital collectibles, the term for NFTs commonly used in mainland China to avoid association of the technology with cryptocurrency. Digital collectibles must be purchased with yuan and cannot be resold for profit.

Using Ethereum, Vault is a new approach for VCG that the company says will help it “form a dual art market at home and abroad.”

Founded in 2000, VCG was the first image licensing company in China and has been the exclusive distributor of the Getty Images library in the country since 2006. However, its dominant market position and some of its business practices have sparked controversy in the past.

In 2019, VCG falsely claimed copyright for the image of the black hole Messier 87 captured by the Event Horizon telescope. The image, which has been made public for free, actually belongs to the collaborative project that produced it using an array of radio telescopes. Following the controversy, China’s internet regulator shut down VCG for a month.

After a boom in the NFT market last year, a number of Chinese tech giants and state-backed organizations have sought to take advantage of the new technology. Blockchain-based tokens can serve as proof of ownership over digital assets such as works of art.


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Earlier this month, the Communist Youth League jumped on the bandwagon when it gave 54,000 digital collectibles to mark its 100th anniversary. Christmas Eve from the official Xinhua News Agency distributed over 100,000 digital collectibles, with news photos of “historic moments in 2021”.

Alibaba owns South China Morning Post.


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