Business / Technology

HTC to set up 10,000 VR experience stores by year-end

By Ma Si in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-01 07:24

HTC to set up 10,000 VR experience stores by year-end

An attendee tries out a virtual reality game on HTC Corp's Vive headset at the 2016 Mobile World Congress Shanghai.[Photo/VCG]

HTC Corp plans to set up more than 10,000 "experience sites" on the mainland by the end of the year, as the Taiwan-based technology company steps up efforts to promote its HTC Vive virtual reality helmet.

The ambitious plan will be realized in part through a partnership with Suning Commerce Group and Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd, two of the biggest electronic offline retailers in China, said Alvin Graylin, head of HTC's VR business in the mainland, on Thursday.

"HTC VR demo stores will pop out in almost every public place over the next couple of months, in shopping malls, internet bars and in karaoke bars," Graylin said, adding the company has more than 1,000 such experience centers now.

The move comes one day after HTC set up an alliance that pulls together 28 of the world's leading venture capital firms, to boost the development of the VR industry.

The alliance, which includes VC powerhouse Sequoia Capital, will set aside $10 billion of capital to invest in the future of VR and set the direction of where VR is going.

HTC is competing with Facebook Inc's Oculus Rift and Sony Corp in the race for the control of the nascent VR market. Its HTC Vive equipment, which hit the streets in April, includes a headset, two wireless controllers and two motion sensors.

"We are aiming to bring the best VR products to the Chinese consumers, and all of our innovative ideas and projects will be executed here first," Graylin said.

Technology consultancy Canalys estimates that total shipments of VR headsets will reach 6.3 million units by the end of this year, of which 40 percent will go to Chinese consumers.

HTC's intensified push into VR is part of the company's broad efforts to offset its tumbling smartphone sales, said She Shuanglin, an analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys International.

"Though its helmet offers quite good VR experience, the industry is still in infancy and changing rapidly," She said.

"HTC needs to pour in more resources to build up VR content on its platform."

In April, HTC launched a $100 million Vive X fund to motivate more developers to create VR content.

Graylin said so far the company has received 1,200 applications.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks