Chinese start-up counts on Apple’s Vision Pro headset to boost adoption of extended reality

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    MR allows users to interact with both physical and digital objects simultaneously and, along with VR and augmented reality, forms a group of technologies known as XR.

    Apple’s initial demonstration of Vision Pro impressed many industry observers. including those from Chinaand gave new enthusiasm to the field.
    Mr. Denny Zhou Qinghui, Founder and Chairman of GDI;Photo: Handout

    GDI was founded in 2007 and claims to be one of the earliest VR companies in China. Headquartered in the Songjiang District of Shanghai, the company currently employs over 200 people and focuses on XR hardware and software solutions.

    On the other hand, major Chinese companies TikTok owner ByteDance And while smartphone maker Oppo has focused its XR efforts on flashy hardware like headsets and joysticks, GDI’s top flagship product is a software framework called IdeaXR.

    Commonly known in the industry as VR engines, tools like IdeaXR allow users to design and create 3D immersive experiences. In particular, his IdeaXR makes it easier for people with little knowledge of traditional programming languages ​​to build VR content and applications using a so-called graphical interactive editor.

    “The key underlying technology for VR is the engine,” Zhou said. “The first thing I wanted to do after starting my business was to build a domestically produced VR engine.”

    IdeaXR, released in 2010 under the name DVS3D, has nearly 100,000 users in China and is one of the country’s most popular VR engines after U.S.-made Unity and Unreal Engine, according to Zhou. It has become.

    While the other two engines are primarily used by video game developers, GDI differentiates itself by serving a wide range of clients, including education, emergency services, and advanced manufacturing. Chou said these customers are often interested in creating his VR tools for training and tutoring.

    GDI’s strategy appears to be working. The company has served over 3,000 corporate customers to date. They include major companies such as Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, Chinese oil refinery giant Sinopec, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Disney.

    In addition to its flagship VR engine, GDI also sells a mixed reality headset called 7 Guang aimed at business customers.Photo: Handout

    For the first half of 2023, GDI reports sales will increase 96% year-on-year to 107 million yuan (approximately USD 14.9 million), and net profit will expand to 13.65 million yuan after sales declined 34% did. Last year, Shanghai’s two-month coronavirus lockdown and related supply chain disruptions played a role, Zhou said.

    GDI’s business also fits with China’s national strategy to promote the digital economy.

    Earlier this month, five Chinese ministries jointly formulated an action plan to create a domestic metaverse. Metaverse companies with “global influence” By 2025 through the development of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and VR technologies.

    Another national blueprint announced last November aims to grow China’s MR industry to 350 billion yuan by 2026 and achieve shipments of 25 million MR devices.

    A few months ago, in July, the Shanghai government announced the establishment of an approximately 10 billion yuan industrial fund dedicated to metaverse development.

    Zhou said GDI is committed to supporting domestic technology.

    “We worked very early on to adapt. [our engine] ” Zhou told the South China Morning Post, adding that IdeaXR is currently compatible with the following operating systems: Kylin, operating system It was originally developed by the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, central Hunan province.


    Chinese tech companies pursue metaverse opportunities with immersive virtual online worlds

    Chinese tech companies pursue metaverse opportunities with immersive virtual online worlds

    For now, IdeaXR is still US semiconductor giant Nvidia. These processors support the high-performance computing required for rendering 3D graphics.

    But Chou said GDI was open to using chips made by other companies based on standards from British firm Arm and American firm Intel.

    According to Zhou, recent advances in the field of AI have further expanded the possibilities of XR technology.

    “Over the past two years, AI technology in particular has been gradually integrated with XR. Chat GPT has been launched,” Zhou said, referring to the AI ​​chatbot developed by U.S. startup OpenAI. “There are many close connections between the two technologies, and this will also be a new direction for our products.”


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