Experts, insiders are positive about the prospects of metaverse

Visitors interact with a virtual character at a booth promoting the metaverse during a high-tech exhibition in Beijing in July. CHEN XIAOGEN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Thanks to a huge net user base, powerful 5G network and advanced manufacturing capacity, China’s metaverse market is expected to embrace a bright future, industry insiders said.

Yu Chen, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group and also a core member of the firm’s technology, media and telecommunications practice, said: “With key technological breakthroughs, some third-party institutions estimate that the industry in China will reach 200 billion yuan ($28 billion ) in five years.”

Currently, the market scale of China’s metaverse industry is about 40 billion yuan, according to the 2022 China Metaverse Development Annual Report, which was released by Social Sciences Academic Press.

Yu, who has a positive attitude towards the industry, said: “In the next five years, the development of the metaverse in China is comparable to that of smartphones over the past decades.”

Yu Jianing, executive director of the metaverse industry committee of the China Mobile Communications Association, said: “During the last round of development of China’s mobile Internet, a host of outstanding technology companies emerged. They had accumulated enormous resources and experience in scientific innovation, which serve as key elements for to drive China’s metaverse development.”

“Along the development path of Chinese companies, there are specifically some niche tracks worth investing in,” BCG’s Yu said.

BCG’s Yu noted that based on the construction framework, the target investment track for China’s metaverse market is mainly composed of technology components, interaction portals and content.

“Interaction portals in the metaverse are the media that transmit the virtual experience to the users. They often appear in the form of augmented reality devices such as augmented reality and virtual reality devices.”

According to BCG’s report, as early as 2012 Google launched its XR head-mounted display Google Glass. Numerous manufacturers followed the lead and acquired XR equipment production capacity.

As the concept of the metaverse went viral, there was a boost in the development of XR equipment in 2021. Between 2018 and 2020, the annual global shipment of XR equipment was around 5.5 million units to 6 million units. But in 2021, the number jumped to 11.2 million units, almost doubling the level from the previous year. Shipping value reached $5 billion, data from BCG showed.

“The climax of investment in China’s XR equipment sector also came in 2021, with a total of 107 financing deals. Total investment was 28.1 billion yuan, up 208.8 percent year-on-year,” BCG’s report said.

BCG’s Yu said: “XR equipment research and development and manufacturing is a current investment hot spot in China as certain technical bottlenecks were not resolved. For example, AR equipment and VR equipment are still large and heavy and not comfortable enough for consumers The optical projection module in VR equipment still causes dizziness during prolonged use.

“Both start-ups and large technology companies in China are striving to break the technical barriers and generate an investment hot spot in the XR equipment sector.”

Rokid Inc, a high-tech company based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is among the first Chinese technology companies to start research and development of XR equipment. In 2016, Rokid’s R-Lab was founded, focusing on optical image recognition and AR technology R&D. In 2018, its AR glasses – Rokid Glass – were released, which are the first mass-produced AR glasses in China.

Misa Zhu, founder and CEO of Rokid, said most of the investment the company attracted was injected into research and development as it strives to produce AR glasses that are lightweight, comfortable and attractive to provide consumers want to wear the glasses for longer periods. .

The weight of the latest version of Rokid’s AR glasses, Rokid Air, is 83 grams – quite an impressive result in the industry. Zhu said that to reduce the weight of the product, the company worked hard on the design and optimized the space inside the AR glasses.

The recent shopping festival on November 11 testified to the success of Rokid Air. Data from the company showed that over 10,000 units of Rokid Air were sold during the shopping festival.

BCG’s Yu said, “The development of 2B scenarios is also worth investing in as companies look for industrial solutions that leverage the metaverse.”

“For example, medical companies are considering using VR technology to prepare and rehearse an operation; while airlines want to use the metaverse to train their pilots.”

Talking about the future development of China’s metaverse, BCG’s Yu suggested that apart from breaking technical barriers, there is a need for policy guidelines and industry standardization from laws and regulations.

“Chinese technology companies will take the path of designing grassroots technology differently from the rest of the world. Using their own advantages, they should accelerate their pace, effectively break down technical bottlenecks and mass produce cost-effective XR equipment to capture market opportunities,” added he.

Zhu of Rokid said: “There is still a long way to go. Currently, XR glasses can only be used in specific scenarios. Equipping them with full capabilities will be very demanding in the technical process, production capacity and materials, including semiconductors.”

When asked if the company is concerned about “bottleneck” problems in chips, he said: “We are taking a localized route and reducing risk by relying on advanced imported materials. So far, we have not encountered any “bottleneck” problems . Longer term, we expect the overall environment to improve. Let’s give it some time and confidence.”

Chen Jia, an independent researcher in international strategy, said: “Recent months have witnessed the uneven development of the metaverse industry globally. Compared to the rest of the world, the market in China has achieved the greatest development, especially politically.”

In 2022, the governments of Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and Fujian launched guidelines and action plans for the metaverse sector.

“With the central and local governments vigorously promoting the industry, enterprises actively participating and consumers’ knowledge of the metaverse deepening, the market is expected to embrace exponential growth,” said Hong Yong, associate research fellow in the e-commerce research department under the Ministry of Commerce.

Experts, insiders are positive about the prospects of metaverse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top