Jaunt VR Startup in China Joint Venture With SMG, CMC

Silicon Valley-based virtual reality company Jaunt Inc. is to establish a joint venture in China with Shanghai Media Group and Whaley, the technology arm of China Media Capital.

SMG and its Oriental Pearl subsidiary will also become investors in parent company Jaunt, putting up an undisclosed sum. CMC is already an investor in Jaunt, having been a co-lead investor alongside Disney and CAA-backer Evolution Media in a $65 million series funding round last September.

“Jaunt China will replicate the business models of Jaunt Inc. to bring cinematic VR experiences to the China market. International VR specialists will be teamed up to produce and distribute premium content for advertising, films and exhibitions taking advantage of the shareholders’ extensive IP resources,” SMG said in a statement.

Jaunt has developed its own VR camera and operates cloud-based rendering and stitching algorithms and a widely compatible publishing platform.

SMG is also partnering with Amazon Web Services, which will provide Jaunt China with advanced cloud computing services in content production, processing and storage.

SMG also announced it would allocate $32 million (RMB 200 million) from its recently established RMB1 billion SMG Cultural Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund to support professionally-generated content. It aims to develop 500 VR productions within two years.

The company is also sponsoring the phase II venture fund of UCCVR, a Chinese online community for VR content producers to incubate programs.

The Chinese pair say that the establishment of Jaunt China will help them develop VR versions of their successful content such as SMG’s reality show “Go Fighting” and CMC’s “The Voice of China.” “Content production and IP development is what SMG has built its reputation on. We are more than happy to do our bit to promote VR development together,” said Jianjun Wang, Director-General and President of SMG in a statement.

SMG recently released its first VR music video and is now offering VR-enhanced shopping on its OCJ e-commerce platform. The new alliances could also be extended to SMG’s interest in gaming. It is the exclusive Chinese distributor of PlayStation consoles in China. And has partnered with Poland’s G2A to develop virtual theme park.


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