When it comes to just about any international market or product, China is not only a market that can’t be ignored, but such a gigantic market that, in some cases and especially with tech products, product creators must take special steps to cater to the huge population and the market climate of China’s tech world. HTC seems to have realized that they are no exception to this rule. They have announced, as part of a multi-fund VR initiative that they seem to be throwing most of their weight behind, they will be putting over 10,000 pop-up VR kiosks, called “Experience Sites”, in public places all around China.
A big part of the funding for this initiative comes from a 28-strong alliance that HTC brought together to help bring VR to the mainstream. Said alliance includes some bigger names within the venture capital space and, all in all, brings about $10 billion to the table that HTC plans to use to not only help the Vive stay competitive, but to make VR a mainstream form of entertainment and introduce as many people to it as possible. Another piece of this puzzle is the Vive X Fund, a $100 million developer advocacy program for the Vive that has thus far seen some 1,200 some odd applicants. HTC’s Chinese head honcho of VR, Alvin Graylin, said that “all of our innovative ideas and projects will be executed here first,” speaking on the rash of VR efforts from the company hitting mainland China.
While such large sums of money to rush the development of the VR market and ensure a place in it could arguably be considered excessive, data from some analysts indicates that HTC is making the right choice. One example is a figure from Canalys, who projects that some 6.3 million VR headsets will be in the wild by the end of 2016, with about 40% of those finding their way into Chinese homes and businesses. The dramatic push into VR is said to be an effort by HTC to offset their slow decline in the smartphone world. As of now, there are about 1,000 of the planned 10,000 “Experience Sites” out and about, showing curious consumers the current state of the art in an effort to convince them to jump on the VR bandwagon.