Five Insights into China’s Virtual Reality Sector

Chinese media dubbed 2016 as the “birth year” of virtual reality (VR) in the country. Tech companies, including the big three—Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu—all sought to set up their own VR initiatives. China may become the first market to see mass VR adoption by consumers thanks to drivers like government support, a willingness by consumers to adopt new tech and a highly competitive environment that will force prices down and foster innovation.

Here are five takeaways from a 2017 report on the state of VR in China from consultancy iResearch Consulting Group and VR market research firm Greenlight Insights.

No. 1: Revenues generated by the VR market in China will skyrocket between 2016 and 2021

The virtual reality market—which includes revenues from headsets, content, experience centers, peripheral hardware, marketing and VR cameras—is projected to grow from RMB3.46 billion ($520.8 million) in 2016 to RMB79.02 billion ($11.9 billion) in 2021. That’s a more than twentyfold increase during that timeframe.

No. 2: Consumer content will soon generate massive revenues for China’s VR sector

In 2016, sales of VR headsets accounted for 59.2% of total virtual reality revenues in China—by far the largest share—while consumer content made up just 7.7%. However, consumer VR content is set to explode, and is expected to account for 35.3% of all VR revenues in the country by 2021. By then, games will lead the VR content category, generating RMB9.62 billion ($1.45 billion), followed by films and movies at RMB8.79 billion ($1.32 billion) and live streaming at RMB 4.46 billion ($671 million).

No. 3: Companies will increasingly rely on VR to drive innovation and lower costs

Enterprise solutions will be one of the fastest growing VR segments in China, rising from RMB3.46 million ($521,000) in 2016 to RMB8.77 billion ($1.32 billion) by 2021. VR technology is already being applied in a number of disparate fields in China, including architecture, engineering,…

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