HTC seeks to build global VR ecosystem

December 13, 2018 13:01
Alvin Graylin, China president of HTC VR leading the VIVE business in the region, explains the role virtual reality can play in education, at the Yidan Prize Summit in Hong Kong on Monday. Photo: HKEJ

Last year, the global market saw many startups focused on virtual reality (VR) winding down their product offerings and services, particularly in the mainland.

“VR projects have risen very quickly in the mainland in the past two years,” Alvin Graylin, China president of HTC VR, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an interview. “To some, VR in the mainland has become stagnant, but I don't think so."

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has launched its first VR product for consumers. “We know that as simply a hardware manufacturer, it is difficult for HTC to maintain its leading position in this new sector,” Graylin said. “We now focus on creating the entire chain and ecosystem around VR.”

At the end of 2016, HTC signed an agreement with the Shenzhen municipal government to jointly launch the “Shenzhen VR industry investment fund” with a capital of 10 billion yuan (about US$1.4 billion) and set up a research and development center in Shenzhen.

The company also established its VR startup accelerator project, VIVE X, with the aim of establishing a global VR ecosystem.

The accelerator project now has footprints in various cities and regions including Taipei, Shenzhen, Beijing, Israel, San Francisco, and London.

About 100 companies worldwide have participated in the project so far. “There are about 20 to 30 VR companies that survived [the market downturn], and many of them are cooperating with us,” he said.

Many see the lack of VR content as the bottleneck of the sector. Graylin said there currently over 30,000 development teams focusing on VR content registered on HTC VIVE app store.

He also said VR-focused startups can seek cooperation with enterprise clients as a first step. He cited the partnership between HTC and Taipei Medical University, which has resulted in the creation of a VR anatomy course for biology students.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 13

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal