ByteDance says committed to VR business Pico after report of it shutting brand

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    The ByteDance logo is seen on one of the company’s office buildings in Shanghai, China, on July 4, 2023.Reuters/Aly Song/File photo Obtaining license rights

    HONG KONG, Oct 24 (Reuters) – TikTok owner ByteDance on Tuesday announced it will sell its virtual reality (VR) business Pico following reports that the Chinese company plans to wind down its virtual reality (VR) business. He said he has no intention of closing and will continue to contribute to the industry in the long term. brand.

    The statement comes after Chinese research firm Equal Ocean released a report alleging that ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming told Pico executives that ByteDance would gradually abandon the Pico business. Ta.

    “Reports that Pico will be shutting down are untrue. Pico is operating as usual and the company will continue to invest in its augmented reality (XR) business over the long term,” ByteDance said in a statement shared with Reuters. Ta.

    XR is a broad term that encapsulates both VR and other headset-related technologies.

    The Pico headset is considered ByteDance’s answer to the popular Quest headset developed by Meta Platforms Inc (META.O). Pico has the largest market share for his VR headsets in China, accounting for over 58% of the market, as Meta’s Quest devices have not yet officially entered China.

    Another article published by Chinese online news outlet The Paper on Tuesday reported that ByteDance is rethinking its Pico strategy and that nearly half of the division’s employees have left. It also said several senior executives have effectively moved from Pico’s business lines.

    Without providing further details, ByteDance said in a separate statement that it “maintains normal product operation and continues to ramp up investment in product technology.”

    ByteDance has been promoting Pico across international markets. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Pico’s headset shipments increased last year, while Meta’s headset shipments decreased. ByteDance has also started paying software developers to bring more apps into its ecosystem.

    But early this year Pico started showing signs of trouble. Reuters reported in February that Pico had laid off more than 200 employees in an effort to streamline the company.

    ByteDance acquired Pico in August 2021 at the height of Metaverse hype.

    But since then, the Metaverse buzz has subsided. Augmented reality (AR) and VR headset shipments fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, as volumes fell 44.6% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC.

    Report by Josh Ye.Editing: Deborah Kibrikosios

    Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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