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Tencent demonstrated commitment to the metaverse by unveiling a specialized ‘extended reality (XR)’ unit for software and hardware projects.
Tencent Holdings Ltd is solidifying metaverse aspirations and has created an ‘extended reality’ unit. On Monday, the Chinese tech giant made this announcement to its staff, according to three inside sources.
Tencent’s extended reality unit has the primary responsibility of building out the company’s metaverse-focused businesses with related software and hardware. Led by Tencent Games Global’s Chief Technology Officer Li Shen, this unit will become part of the tech multinational’s Interactive Entertainment business group. In addition, the extended reality unit also looks to have a staff force of more than 300. Tencent however cautions that the hiring process is still fluid and will be based on the unit’s performance – also implying a lesser staff number. This is because the Chinese tech and entertainment conglomerate wants to continue its cost-cutting and decreased hiring policies.
According to the sources, Tencent’s extended reality unit was first created earlier this year, but remained under wraps. This specialized department represents a rare venture into hardware for the Chinese tech powerhouse. This is because Tencent is predominantly popular for its software offerings, such as its suite of games and social media applications. Speaking on the extended reality vision, one of the inside sources explained that the unit is a passion project of Tencent founder Pony Ma.
Ma, who also serves as CEO of the tech company, first referenced the importance of the metaverse back in 2020. Then, the Chinese billionaire business magnate and business oligarch also referred to the metaverse as an “all-real internet.”
Tencent Extended Reality Metaverse Agenda in Contrast to Internal Cost-Cutting Measures
The formation of the Tencent extended reality department also seems to be a deviation from the company’s internal downsizing. Several other departments within the tech giant have seen staff cuts, including the Penguin Esports unit. Tencent is embarking on these cost control measures in reaction to the government regulatory crackdown last year. Additionally, as a way of coping with this crackdown, Tencent also shuttered non-core businesses.
So far, Tencent has not been forthcoming publicly on its metaverse plans. Last November, the company disclosed that it has the requisite tech resources to embark on a metaverse quest. However, Tencent did not provide details of its plan.
Other Company Metaverse Aspirations
Tencent’s metaverse aspirations are part of a broader scope of tech-inclined corporations looking to latch onto the digital environment opportunity. Other companies within China and the US, such as TikTok owner ByteDance, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are also in the metaverse loop. Perhaps the most telling of the lot is Facebook parent changing its name to Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) late last year. The company’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has since said that Meta would devote its future to facilitating metaverse plans.
Mass media companies like Disney (NYSE: DIS) also revealed that they are working on their own metaverse plans.