Tencent denies axing its XR unit, and says it’s making personnel adjustments

February 17, 2023 8:49 am

Tencent’s XR unit, which established around June last year, were reportedly axed according to MaiMai, a Chinese Glass-door like service, and several Chinese news outlets. Tencent has denied the rumor, calling the move “shifting the developmental path of hardware, and making personnel adjustments.”

The XR unit planned to have over 300 staff, and was tasked with building up the extended reality business for Tencent including both software and hardware at the time of establishing.

Back then, Tencent referred to the XR business as the company new business unit embracing the “all-true internet”. The XR business unit aims to create a world-class tech team, covering content creation, research & development and management.

The idea of “all-true internet” was put forward by Huateng Ma, CEO of Tencent, in late 2020. In Tencent’s internal published book Sanguan, Ma describes the “all-true internet” as the integration of online and offline, physically and electronically.

Zhang Zhengyou, Tencent's chief scientist, elaborated the term for the first time on November 3 2021 at an industry conference — the all-true Internet means connecting everything and bridging the real and the virtual, creating a more comprehensive integration of online and offline, and making an increasingly close connection of people, information, things, services and manufacturing.

The concept of the all true internet is very much similar to the now hyped concept of metaverse. Previously, Tencent has already made many moves venturing into the metaverse.

Tencent formed a strategic partnership with metaverse game company Roblox as early as 2019, and published the Roblox game in China in July 2021. According to data provided by Sensor Tower, the game was able to accumulate over 1.7 million downloads in the China App Store in five months after its initial release.

Tencent was once in talks with Black Shark, a Chinese gaming smartphone maker, for acquisition. Upon the completion of the acquisition, the Xiaomi-backed Black Shark is said to drop its smartphone business and focus on the research and development of VR equipment.

However, the acquisition deal reached an dead end and Black Shark has laid off over 100 employee from August 2022 to January this year, equating to nearly 80% of its workforce.