China’s iQIYI is harnessing its scale as one of China’s largest online video companies to launch what it claims will be the largest Chinese-language virtual reality platform.
At its iQIYI World Conference in Beijing this week, the company rolled out its own VR apps and a partner incentive program. It also announced plans for VR fantasy movie “Iron Fists of the Despicable.”
“In recent years, the investment in VR hardware development has made significant gains, but this cutting-edge technology still remains a futuristic concept to ordinary people in the absence of a VR content platform,” said Gong Yu, founder and CEO of iQIYI. “iQIYI’s expertise in online video and games will serve us as a springboard to build up an open and complete industry chain that covers VR production, distribution and interaction.”
The company said that its iVR+ set consists of two apps — iVR Panorama Cinema and iVR Game Room — designed for all-in-one VR devices, as well as a new VR feature in the iQIYI video streaming app. The iVR+ set is able to cover all the head-mounted VR devices currently available, it said.
Chinese companies have been keen to move into the VR sector which they see as broadening the range of entertainment content their clients will use, and also of extending the value of their intellectual property. They also see it as a new and developing sector in which they can keep up with innovations from North America.
“China has the potential to grow into the world’s biggest VR content supply and consumption market. And we believe that day will come soon with our joint efforts,” said Gong.
iQIYI, said that its VR platform, will provide marketing, production and operation assistance to more than 300 of its partners in VR content and device manufacturing sectors. It expects that the VR services jointly developed by iQIYI and its partners will reach more than 10 million users in China over the next 12 months.
The VR Partner Incentive Program will work with VR video and game developers to make 10 existing online films and dramas and 100 games into VR productions.
The “Iron Fists” movie is to be co-produced with Wuxi Soulpower Culture, one of the companies behind recent hit film “Mojin: The Lost Legend.”
Other partnerships unveiled included those with Caijing Magazine, one of China’s most influential business publications; Conde Nest Traveler; 720YUN, China’s largest panoramic content provider; and Damai.cn, an online entertainment ticketing service provider.
iQIYI is a subsidiary of China’s leading online search company Baidu. As of March this year, according to iResearch, the company claimed, 350 million PC-based users, and 275 million people who use its mobile app.