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  • Kyle Chua

China’s VR Sector Enters Period of “Explosive” Growth

China appears to be pulling out all the stops in the research and development of key emerging technologies, including virtual reality (VR).

Credit: Reuters

The fundraising and investment volume in the Chinese VR sector more than doubled in 2021, marking a new period of “explosive” growth, touted Wang Jiangping, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).


Citing a report by Tuoluo Research, South China Morning Post claims that funding, merger and acquisition volume in both VR and augmented reality (AR) sectors reached 6.19 billion yuan (US$871 million) in the first half of 2022, up 67% from the same period last year. That figure is only expected to accel in the coming years, with the country aiming to accelerate the output of VR to 350 billion yuan by 2026. It also wants to support up to 100 innovative “backbone” VR companies to carry out research and integrated development of the technology.


ByteDance's Pico 4 VR headset, for instance, received positive reception when it launched last month, selling more than 10,000 units in two weeks, with the competing Meta Quest 2 being unavailable in the Chinese market. The TikTok owner acquired the VR startup Pico last year.

Credit: Pico

The milestone growth in the sector comes as the MIIT and China's top industry planners released a new action plan on the development of VR. While the plan doesn't specifically mention the metaverse, it does outline key tasks and implementation measures related to the technologies that'll power the immersive virtual experience, including VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR), along with industry supply chains and government regulations, among others.


The plan was supposedly released against the backdrop of the VR sector's growing importance in countries like the U.S. and South Korea, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a research institute under the MIIT. The release also suggests that the Chinese Communist Party views the metaverse and related technologies as important industries in the future, noting that they have the potential to “profoundly change human production and lifestyles."


VR is also among the “key industries” part of China's overarching economic and industry development plan for 2021 to 2025.

 
  • China's VR sector saw its fundraising and investment volume more than double in 2021, marking a new period of “explosive” growth, as the government claims.

  • According to research, funding, merger and acquisition volume in both VR and augmented reality (AR) sectors reached 6.19 billion yuan (US$871 million) in the first half of 2022, up 67% from the same period last year.

  • That figure is only expected to grow in the coming years, with the country aiming to accelerate the output of VR to 350 billion yuan by 2026.

  • It also wants to support up to 100 innovative “backbone” VR companies to carry out research and integrated development of the technology.




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