JD.com going into VR battle with Alibaba
China’s second-largest B2C online platform JD.com Inc is gearing up to use virtual reality technology on its online shopping platform in a bid to catch up with its archrival Alibaba GroupHolding Ltd.
OnTuesday, theNasdaq-listed online retailer announced its ambitious plan to build a virtual reality and augmented reality-enabled online shopping experience that can beat those offered by brick-andmortar stores.
“We don’t want to miss the future development of VR and AR technologies. They could provide better shopping experiences and bring convenience to our lives. At the same time, innovative technologies can drive the development of JD’s future business,” said Long Yu, chief human resources officer at JD.com.
Together with third parties, the company will launch the AR home decoration product. With the AR shopping app, users can “see” virtual items in a real environment, such as the position of a sofa and the color of the wallpaper. At the same time, users can have a real-time conversation with designers to discuss the interior layout of their home.
Apart fromAR, JDcurrently uses VR technologies on 3C (computer, communications and consumer electronics), home appliances and other fields. Putting on a VR headset, users can pick up the selected product and viewit in 360 degrees.
In February, JD’s rival Alibaba invested inUS-based mixed reality startup Magic Leap. Then it announced the establishment of its own VR research lab, GnomeMagic Lab. And in July, Alibaba provided a preview of its “Buy+” virtual store at the Taobao Maker Festival in Shanghai.
According to a jointly issued VR & AR market analysis Long Yu, report by JDand international data group IDG, as the VR market develops rapidly, the fourth quarter will usher in full-blown competition.
“With JD’s key business lying in online shopping malls, VR and AR technologies will help improve the impact of commodity displays, and boost the company’s business. As a representative of B2C platforms, JD’s main users are people aged between 20 to 35 with medium to high incomes, who are aware of VR and AR technologies,” said Zhao Ziming, an analyst at Beijingbased internet consultancy Analysys.
However, James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said in an earlier interview that the application of VR in e-commerce would need more time to take off because it is difficult to make people form the habit of using VR technology to shop. “And VRcontent for shopping is also in desperate need,” he said.
On Tuesday, JD also announced its cooperation with domestic VR manufacturer Beijing Baofeng Mojing Technology Co Ltd over the next three years, to sell 15 million VR headsets.
We don’t want to miss the future development of VR and AR technologies.” chief human resources officer at JD.com
A boy tries VR games at an urban science festival in Beijing.