Tue, Aug 02, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Eight more firms join HTC’s VR development alliance

Staff writer, with CNA

Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) yesterday said it has added another eight venture-capital firms to its virtual-reality (VR) development alliance to boost funding.

With the inclusion of the new firms, the total funding of the VR Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA) is expected to increase from US$10 billion to more than US$12 billion, HTC said in a statement.

The eight firms include NVIDIA GPU Ventures of the US, San Francisco-based Presence Capital, Lightspeed China Partners (光速中國), China’s ZenFund (真格基金) and Softbank Ventures Korea.

In late June, HTC announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Shanghai that it had teamed up with 27 venture capitalists to form the VRVCA, with US$10 billion in funding. The number has now grown to 36.

The HTC Vive VR headset is one of HTC’s gambits to diversify from its core smartphone market, which is saturated and intensely competitive, in the hope of creating an additional revenue source and turn around its business.

The headset, jointly developed by HTC and US video game supplier Valve, was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress show in March last year. The gadget, which was released globally in April, is equipped with tracking controllers that allow wearers to see objects from every angle and interact with their surroundings.

Wang Tsung-ching (汪叢青), head of HTC Vive China, said that the formation of the VRVCA was aimed at heightening innovation in the global VR industry.

Meanwhile, HTC announced the first batch of 33 startups its US$100 million Vive X Accelerator program is to invest in.

They include Action Bunker VR, LumiereVR, Directive Games, EdSenses, Shortfuse, CleVR and SurrealVR and Teemew.

Over the next four months, the startups would work on developing VR content and related products, HTC said.

The 33 startups in the Vive X program were picked from a list of nearly 1,200 applicants, and the selection of a second batch will begin in November, HTC said.

HTC is working on a second-generation Vive, which is expected to be unveiled either late this year or early next year, according to the Beijing-based news Web site Sina.

In related news, HTC yesterday increased the price tag of its HTC Vive in the UK by more than 10 percent from £689 to £759 (US$907.41 to US$999.60) due to the depreciation of the British pound against the US dollar.

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