The best way to sell people on VR is to show it to them, and HTC is going to be doing just that in China.
China Daily is reporting that the creator of the HTC Vive will be establishing more than 10,000 “experience sites” for the tech in mainland China throughout the rest of the year. The company has partnered with Chinese electronic retailers Suning Commerce Group and Gome Electrical Appliances to host kiosks in which people will be able to try the device and its Room Scale user tracking. Hopefully that will be enough to convince them to pick up a kit themselves.
According to HTC China’s Head of VR Business, Alvin Graylin, these kiosks will be appearing “in almost every public place”, including the likes of shopping malls, internet bars, and karaoke bars. Graylin was also bullish about China’s future role in the VR industry. “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,” he said.
China is quickly becoming a significant focus for HTC in the VR race. Last week the company announced the VR Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA), bringing together a number of investment companies to help fund ambitious new startups working with virtual, augmented and mixed reality. One of the two offices from which the alliance will operate out of is based in Beijing, as is one of the three offices for HTC’s own VR accelerator initiative, Vive X.
Placing emphasis on the Chinese market right now could help HTC gain a massive head start over its major rivals, the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, but may also help nurture talent from a country we haven’t seen many VR experiences from. If the company unlocks a massive new market from which global VR businesses can benefit from, then that can only be a good thing for everyone.
Last week we learned that HTC has spun off its work on the Vive into its own subsidiary, which should give the tech more space to operate. It likely also means we’ll see plenty more of these kinds of initiatives established in the near future.