Taobao Buy+ VR Shopping for 8M Chinese Customers

The yearly Chinese Shopping Festival “Double Eleven” on Nov.11th (similar to America’s Black Friday) has just passed. Not only a feast for shoppers, it is the showtime for emerging new technologies as well, including the Buy+ VR shopping.

Taobao is like the Amazon of China, created by Alibaba, which is listed on Nasdaq.

Buy+ has gone online on Taobao App since Nov.1st. With the help of a VR cardboard,  this shopping application can bring you to the shopping malls from all over the world and you can buy anything you like online. The current version covers 7 shopping malls from 3 different countries and offers hundreds of goods, inclucing Macy’s from New York.

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Buy+ is basically a pano video with hotspot to interact with

The experience is presented in a panoramic video. Shoppers use their optical center to select hotspot covered commodities, refer to details and add to the shopping cart. Then they can key in their Alipay password to complete the payment. (Alipay is like Paypal of China, which is the major payment service online.)

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As the largest online shopping mall in China, Taobao’s trial in VR will surely encourage millions of customers to experience and use VR. The current Buy+ is no longer a demo and has included the whole payment procedure inside VR. Users can immerse in the VR environment and operate their Alipay account to complete the payment.

Buy+ Data

As expected, over 70% users are the 80s generation. Taobao is a platform for the youngsters.
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As you can tell from the above data, people are keen to experience the novelties. It is noteworthy that 25-29 years old user dominate the Buy+ user group, therefore future VR products will probably aim for this particular group as well.

Till Nov.10th, around 8 million people have experienced shopping in virtual world. The majority of them are man, which also fits the common sense that man are more interested in new technology.

Creator Program

According to the project leader, Buy+ is Alibaba’s first step rather than the ultimate form and its main purpose is to promote VR towards its mass users. Alibaba has already started a Creator Program to build the VR shopping industry chain. First of all, they would like to attract teams with automatic 3D modeling technology so that they can create models of real objects at the lowest cost in VR with technologies such as depth camera or light field.

If your team is in good command of such technologies, you can also send mail to contact@vr-in-china.com, we will provide you more info of Alibaba’s Creator Program.

Shenzhen Government & HTC kicks off 10B RMB VR Fund

On the morning of Nov. 18th, Beijing Time, HTC announced their partnership with Shenzhen Government and the kick off two initiatives.

Firstly, a brand new Chinese VR Research Institute will be established. HTC will corporate with this institute to develop sensors, display devises, as well as techniques such as graphic/data visualization and human-computer interaction. With talents from enterprises, high schools, research institutes and investment organizations united together to tackle challenges, the institute is striving for breakthroughs and will stimulate the ecosystem development in Shenzhen. The technical results will then be implemented in various fields including health care, military, engineering, design and manufacture.  

Also, with the assistance of Shenzhen Industry Capital Leading Funds, the Shenzhen VR Investment Fund was set up as well. With over 10 billion RMB as initial capital (about 1.5 billion USD), the fund will support a number of companies to speed up the VR industry development in China.

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ShenZhen Government and HTC sign off the 10B RMB VR Fund on Nov.18 2016
Cher Wang, Chairwomen and Co-Founder of HTC expressed in the prepared statement that the center’s “multiple research centers” and “investment funds” will accelarate the VR industry development in Shenzhen and enhance the city’s research and development capability.

These are just two recent initiatives from HTC for its steady development. A year ago, the company has already independently kicked off the Vive X Accelarator program to provide guidance and work space for startups and seek potential investment opportunity at the same time. Later, they corporated with investment firms and set up the VR Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA) to further review the financing plans of these startups. Recently, the company assisted the establishment of Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance in China as well, hoping to unite the enterprises and solve the industry problems 

Known as the Chinese Sillcon Valley, Shenzhen is a globally-renowned electronic components production base with vibrant hardware entreupreneurial acitivities. For instance, the well known Chinese UAV company DJI settled its headquarter in Shenzhen. And it is reported that Shenzhen’s factories has delivered over 10 milion Cardboard type VR devices per month in 2016, most of them were shipped overseas.