Tech firms jump on bandwagon
Beijing Baofeng Technology Co Ltd, an internet entertainment and technology company, plans to build a VR ecosystem, which includes content production, hardware, software and offline store expansion to boost the overall development of the sector.
Founded in 2014, the VR unit of Baofeng Technology stands out in the hot VR market in China. Within the past two years, its core product, the Mojing (meaning magic mirror) headset, has been frequently updated from the first to the fifth generation.
Its fifth-generation smartphoneVR glasses, namedMojing 5.0 andMojing 5.0 Plus, priced at 499 yuan ($74) and 899 yuan, were unveiled inMay.
Mojing 5.0 Plus is believed to be the first VR product that supports hand and finger motions as input methods, technology refined through cooperation with US computer-sensor developer Leap Motion Inc.
Huang Xiaojie, CEO of BaofengMojing, theVRarmof the Beijing-based company, said it has made significant progress in hardware, software, content, technology and mobile terminals, adding VR will be the next wave of the technology revolution.
Mojing completed its second round of fundraising for 230 million yuan in January, giving it a valuation of 1.43 billion yuan. It launched its fourth-generation VR headset in November last year, priced at 199 yuan.
Baofeng plans to open about 5,000 offline VR experience stores across the country this year.
According to industry consultancy iResearch Consulting Group, China’s VR market revenues are expected to top 5.6 billion yuan this year, up from 1.5 billion yuan in 2015, and reach 55 billion yuan by 2020.
VR expert She Shuanglin said: “Baofeng is making a stand across the whole industrial chain, including content production, software and other upstream fields and downstream such as offline stores, sales channels.”
Meanwhile, the investment in the VR field is becoming rational this year. In the first quarter of 2016, 18 Beijing VR startups finished their funding rounds to raise 816 million yuan in total, while in the second quarter only five won investors’ favor.
In contrast, the VR industry overseas is still moving forward. Information and technology giants including Facebook, HTC, Samsung, Sony and Google, are all cultivating VR hardware platforms.
Google’s newly launched Daydream View VR headset was released on Nov 10. The American technology company Oculus VR just announced it will invest $250 million to make exclusive content in a bid to win against rivals. Gao Songya contributed to the story.
A visitor tries on Baofeng’s VR glasses during a Beijing international technological products expo in May.