Baidu’s Head of Metaverse Operations Leaves as Company Zooms In On AI

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    • Baidu’s metaverse chief has left the company.
    • Ma Jie’s name has disappeared from the Chinese internet giant’s internal computer database.
    • This comes after Baidu shifted its focus to generative AI in the ChatGPT story.

    Ma Jie, head of Baidu’s metaverse, said: reportedly A person close to the Chinese internet giant said he had left the company. The South China Morning Post reported Friday that a person familiar with the matter said searches did not find Ma’s name in the company’s computer database.

    The report comes after Baidu’s decision to shift its focus to generative AI, a technology that has recently gained popularity among tech giants. Generative AI allows companies to create automated conversational bots that can generate content based on user queries.

    Ma, who joined Baidu in 2015, said on Friday that Chinese media outlet The Paper said he had “already left Baidu.” However, the internet giant could neither confirm nor deny the report.

    Another source, who first reported the personnel changes, said Baidu has pulled out of the Metaverse business to focus on AI. Generative AI appears to be emerging as the new shiny toy for tech giants, replacing the Metaverse.

    Facebook, which rebranded to Meta in October 2021, has also been accused of going in the same direction. But co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has refuted these claims, affirming his own up-and-coming Metaverse community that Meta is fully committed to the course. .

    But Baidu and Meta aren’t the only notable tech giants to exit the metaverse. In February 2023, Baidu’s local rival Tencent disbanded its 100-staff augmented reality (XR) team just months after its creation. The move was interpreted as a step back from the metaverse race. The company cited the decision as a result of lower profits following its 2022 results.

    According to Chinese sources who have spoken to local media, Baidu is pulling out of the Metaverse business for similar reasons.

    In the US, Microsoft laid off staff from its industrial metaverse, opting instead to focus on products with near-term profit potential.

    In our recent feature on the metaverse, we asked industry experts what the future holds for the metaverse in light of recent developments. Clearly, tech giants are suddenly less confident about the future of 3D virtual spaces than they were a few months ago.

    What we’ve learned is that while the consensus is that the Metaverse will live on, it’s probably not the time for big tech companies to show their shareholders progress every three months.

    Ma knew the Metaverse had a long way to go before it could establish a strong foothold in the technology space. Commenting on the Metaverse right around the time Facebook rebranded it to Meta, Ma said, “The Metaverse is still in the very early stages of development,” and said that online communities could work together to build and improve the industry. He added that patience is required.

    According to reports today, Baidu’s XiRang metaverse “Land of Hope” lasted only 18 months. Both Tencent’s XR division and Microsoft’s industrial metaverse division lasted four months.

    However, native Metaverse and Web3 companies such as The Sandbox, Windfall, Somnium Space and Decentraland are holding their own despite the prolonged bear market.


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