Tech firms jump on band­wagon

China Daily (USA) - - WUZHEN - By FAN­FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­

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.

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