Greenlighting China: Smartphone Manufacturers Set Sights On China’s VR Market

Eddie Lou, Analyst, Asia-Pacific China xR Intelligence Service, Devices & Technology, Head-Mounted Displays, Insight Articles, Virtual Reality, Virtual Reality Intelligence Service

Greenlighting China
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Mobile World Congress, Asia’s biggest mobile industry conference, just had a new successful gathering in Shanghai, and VR once again dominated the show. China seems to have an unusual amount of interest in VR, and Chinese businesses are extremely active in the industry. With this new emerging market, the country known for piracy is trying to find a new path in the dark. With unforeseen speed and smarter business ideas, China businesses want to stand at the center stage for VR.

(Photo from TimeOut)

(Photo from TimeOut)

HTC is working in full force on VR in China

HTC has made a lot of big moves recently. The company separated its most valuable business unit, Vive VR, to form Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, a global accelerator program. The program invests in VR, AR and Mixed Reality startups of any size from anywhere around the world. A lot of the actions of the alliance are taking place in China rather than in the US. It is reasonable to say that China is now becoming a core market for HTC Vive knowing that China has the biggest consumer market and more than one-third of their developers are from China. It’s expected that the number of VR units sold in China will be greater than any other region of the world due to the growth of location-based VR experience centers. The centers will become a major business opportunity in China, and HTC can play a big part by providing an advanced VR solution. On the consumer side, HTC is partnering with China’s retail/e-tail behemoths Alibaba, Gome, Suning and to pull off both online and location-based VR experiences. In a couple of year’s time, Chinese consumers may no longer remember HTC as a handset manufacturer but a VR company.


Baofeng Technology makes its way for new VR devices

Mobile HMD manufacturer Baofeng Mojing launched its new products Mojing 5 and 5 Plus with some major feature updates. Embedding the technology of LeapMotion, Mojing now provides more interactive features like gesture recognition in their new mobile VR products. Mojing 5/5+ also includes VR input method through cooperation with Sougou. Sougou developed the most widely used Chinese input software with more than 500 million users. This is their first attempt to solve the problem of text input in VR, which is largely warped and hard to read.  Baofeng has been blamed for their lack of core technologies in their fast iterating products, by working with various technology firms, Baofeng may now stand a better chance at winning the upcoming battle with other mobile VR companies.

Chinese domestic handset manufacturers pour into VR industry

More than 20 smartphone manufacturers invested in VR ventures. This is undoubtedly a logical step for Xiaomi to be part of the game. Xiaomi is one of the biggest mobile phone brands in China. The company announced that they would launch new products that will support Google's Daydream along with Samsung and ZTE. Despite the early stage of VR standards, smartphone manufacturer Huawei also joined the battle with a new product to be release this fall that will support Daydream. It seems every major smartphone company in China believes in a bright future of VR, knowing the technology is developing at an accelerated rate. No one wants to miss out on the new wave of opportunities. While both Xiaomi and Huawei didn’t provide any specifications of the their new phones, their participation will push the development of VR one step further for Chinese VR market.
For more on the growth of the China VR and AR markets, register for the 2016 Virtual Reality Strategy Conference and join the event newsletter for more updates.