Tencent announced to its staff on Monday the official formation of an "extended reality" (XR) unit, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The unit, which plans to have over 300 staff, is tasked with building up the extended reality business for Tencent including both software and hardware, said the report. It will be led by Tencent Games Global's Chief Technology Officer Li Shen and will be part of the company's Interactive Entertainment business group.
Sources told Reuters the unit was set up earlier this year but has been kept secret since then.
The phrase "extended reality" is used to describe immersive technologies like VR and AR that are considered to form the foundation of the metaverse. Technology companies in China are competing to build what they see as the future of the Internet: metaverse, a simulated digital world.
Earlier this year, ByteDance, the parent company of the viral short video app TikTok teamed up with Qualcomm, the California-based mobile chipset manufacturer, for the development of “a global Extended Reality (XR)”. The TikTok owner also acquired Pico, the world's third-largest virtual reality (VR) headset startup, in 2021.
Chinese search engine giant Baidu opened its self-developed metaverse to the public last December, allowing users to interact and access virtual locations through avatars.
Alibaba established an XR lab in 2021, hoping to better combine this technology with more scenarios to bring greater efficiency. "Right now, there are still a lot of things in the XR Internet that make it hard to predict accurately, but the best way to predict the future is to make it," said Tan Ping, who is in charge of the XR Lab at Alibaba DAMO Academy.