Alibaba spreads its wings into VR sec­tor

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd on Thurs­day an­nounced its own vir­tual re­al­ity (VR) re­search lab, dubbed GnomeMagic Lab, which aims to step into the "white-hot" in­dus­try.

Alibaba, which claims 400 mil­lion users across its ser­vices, said that GnomeMagic Lab will work with its shop­ping busi­nesses to in­te­grate VR into the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­cord­ing to tech­nol­ogy web­site It also will ex­plore other ap­pli­ca­tions, such as video, with the com­pany's on­line video arm, Youku Tu­dou, and en­ter­tain­ment via Alibaba Pic­tures.

"VR could en­able cus­tomers to shop vir­tu­ally on New York's Fifth Av­enue from the com­fort of their own home," said for­mer Face­book en­gi­neer Zhao Haip­ing, who is on Alibaba's GnomeMagic Lab team, in a press re­lease.

Ac­cord­ing to Alibaba, the lab's first pro­ject is to es­tab­lish the world's largest three-di­men­sional (3D) com­mod­ity ware­house. The com­pany's en­gi­neers have al­ready cre­ated VR vi­su­als for hun­dreds of prod­ucts, and a stan­dard­iza­tion tool is ex­pected to be de­vel­oped for mer­chants to swiftly ac­com­plish 3D mod­el­ing for their prod­ucts. Ear­lier this year, a Dow Jones re­port said Alibaba led $794 mil­lion in fund­ing for Magic Leap Inc, a US com­pany that de­vel­ops tech­nolo­gies that show 3D im­ages on real world ob­jects.

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