Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

It’s strange that big factories have added code yuan universe one after another.

After Tencent and Byte Investment spent a lot of money to deploy the Metaverse, another big Internet company added, this time Alibaba.

Recently, a financing news once again brought the AR industry into focus. Nreal, a well-known domestic consumer-grade AR glasses manufacturer, announced that it has completed a $60 million (about 380 million yuan) C+ round of financing. The investor is Alibaba.

In the past two or three years, Nreal has attracted capital crazily, basically maintaining the rhythm of a half-year financing round. In the past three years, it has obtained at least 230 million US dollars (about 1.5 billion yuan) in financing, and about 17 well-known investment institutions are competing to bet. Since last year, with the rise of the Metaverse concept, Nreal has attracted more attention in the industry.

“Ali is a domestic Internet giant with a sufficient market share, while Nreal is the leading company in the AR glasses industry in China. Ali’s investment in Nreal may be the reason for further in-depth research and development, sales and promotion. An important signal of cooperation.” Wang Feng (pseudonym), an investor who has been concerned about the TMT field for a long time, said to Pencil Road.

Since last year, various Internet giants have been accelerating the layout of the Metaverse. ByteDance acquired Pico, a VR equipment developer, for 5 billion yuan; Tencent was rumored to spend 2.6-2.7 billion yuan to acquire Black Shark Technology, a gaming mobile phone company; Ali released a new brand “Yuanjing” to provide cloud gaming PaaS capabilities and Developer platform…

This article attempts to discuss the following issues:

1. What is the logic for Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance and other big Internet companies to build the Metaverse through “buy, buy, buy”? 2. Is the Metaverse just a short-term explosion in industries such as AR/VR equipment? 2. Internet giants have entered the Metaverse, will they bring new monopoly?

01   

 

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

 The tyrant team of Zhejiang University was robbed of 60 million US dollars by Ali

“Yesterday was ‘New Year’s Eve’ in Shanghai,” some Shanghai residents laughed at themselves.

Recently, a financing news once again brought the AR industry into focus. Nreal, a well-known domestic consumer-grade AR glasses manufacturer, announced the completion of a $60 million C+ round of financing, with Alibaba as the investor.What kind of company is this?

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

Nreal company named Tairuo Technology, founded in 2017, is a research and development company of MR smart glasses. According to the data, Nreal started as a mixed reality company in China, mainly focusing on mixed reality technology research and development, AR terminal glasses production, “committed to creating a mixed reality technology ecosystem, using innovation and technology to shape the future world, and change human cognitive experience.”

This technology company founded by a team of students from Zhejiang University has attracted widespread attention in China, and it was still in 2019. At this year’s CES, Nreal was awarded the 2019 “Best Tech Startup” award for its flagship product, the Nreal light. At the Mobile World Congress, Nreal light also launched foldable MR glasses, both of which appeared at the Qualcomm booth at the same time, supporting the interconnection of mobile phone manufacturers using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 885 chip. These R&D achievements mean that Nreal’s products will enter people’s lives in the way of interconnection with mobile phones, which lowers the user’s cognitive threshold and brings usage scenarios that are closer to life.

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

With its outstanding research and development capabilities, Nreal quickly entered the attention of capital and the market, setting off a wave for the VR/AR industry that had fallen into silence at that time. Various partners and investors also followed.

On January 8, 2019, Nreal and iQIYI reached an in-depth cooperation. iQIYI’s holographic content and MR smart glasses are deeply integrated to bring users a new immersive entertainment experience. In February 2019, Nreal received a total of $31 million in Series A and A+ financing from iQiyi, Huachuang Capital, Shunwei Capital and other institutions.

However, the development of all enterprises will not be smooth, and difficulties will come along with the “halo”. In 2019, Magic Leap accused Nreal founder Xu Chi of stealing classified technology as a former engineer to make augmented reality gear. From July 2019 to July 2020, Nreal spent a year responding to the lawsuit in the United States. After winning the lawsuit, Nreal received $40 million in Series B financing from Kuaishou Zhantou, Sequoia China and others.

Since then, Nreal has started the rise of overseas operation channels. In August 2020, AR glasses were commercialized in South Korea. In 2021, Nreal announced a partnership with Vofunda, one of the world’s largest mobile operators, to launch Nreal light in Germany, the first consumer-grade MR glasses in the European market. In the same month, Nreal cooperated with Deutsche Telekom, the largest telecom operator in Europe, to launch the first Nreal light mixed reality glasses. Local users can log in to the Deutsche Telekom official website to order.

In the past two years, Nreal has attracted capital crazily, basically maintaining the rhythm of a half-year financing round.

Since last year, with the rise of the Metaverse concept, Nreal has also attracted more attention in the industry.

In September 2021, Nreal announced the completion of a Series C financing of over US$100 million, led by many star investment companies: NIO Capital, Yunfeng Fund, Hongtai Fund co-led the investment, CPE Yuanfeng and several strategic investors Following the investment, the existing investors Gimpo Ventures, Hillhouse Ventures, and Sequoia China made additional investments.

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

△ Source: Qichacha App

In addition to the new round of financing from Alibaba, excluding the undisclosed amount of the round, Nreal has received at least $231 million in financing in the past three years.

While attracting gold, Nreal is also advancing by leaps and bounds in technology. In 2022, Nreal has applied for more than 20 AR-related patents, of which more than 10 have been authorized, including “devices for realizing augmented reality”, “AR optical devices and wearable AR devices”, etc. The above-mentioned Beijing subsidiary has also obtained “Nreal Augmented Reality Engine System” software copyright registration approval.

 02 

 

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

  Ali accelerates the layout of the Metaverse

Ali’s investment this time has attracted public criticism. As a new retail Internet giant, why did Ali invest in an AR eye manufacturing company? What is this operation?

The seemingly limitless problem has already been traced. In the past ten years, Ali has made online shopping and online payment mainstream, and behind this, the technical support of the Internet is indispensable. Statistics show that Alibaba spends hundreds of millions of trillions on technical support every year, which shows that Alibaba attaches great importance to research and development.

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

Alibaba invested in MagicLeap back in 2016, when the company was one of the most touted startups in the U.S. backed by investors such as Alphabet Inc. This company is an AR company that Nreal founder Xu Chi joined when he was in the United States.

But the real intersection between Ali and Nreal will not come until 2020. In May of that year, Alibaba and Nreal reached a cooperation. Nreal, in conjunction with Dingding, an online work platform, released an online office-based AR glasses “Nreal AR Glasses Set Professional Edition”, which is adapted to the Dingding online work platform. This glasses can enable users to enter a 3D virtual work environment combined with reality through it, and experience remote communication and collaboration in an immersive experience.

In 2021, the concept of the Metaverse is hot. The essence of the Metaverse is that you can experience real feelings in the virtual world, and the market potential is huge. But as far as the current technology is concerned, this is still not possible. Perhaps this is the reason why various Internet companies have announced their entry into the Metaverse in a high-profile manner. Regardless of whether it is investment or cooperation, Ali has expressed its importance to this new Internet trend.

Partnering with and investing in Nreal is not Ali’s first foray into the Metaverse.

In 2021, official data released by Alibaba showed that Alibaba’s stock price fell by nearly 60% during the year, and its market value fell by 3.48 trillion Hong Kong dollars, or about 2.8 trillion yuan. However, in the case of losses, in September of the same year, Alibaba Cloud Game Division released a new brand “Yuanjing” to provide cloud game PaaS capabilities and developer platforms. Games cover a variety of empowerment, covering social content, office applications, immersive games, etc., and are regarded as one of the largest carriers for Ali to build the Metaverse.

The logic of Ali’s “Yuanjing” is very simple. Metaverse can use games to provide people with a platform for building new connections, and rely on powerful computing and rendering power on the cloud to provide cloud games with immersive experiences, so games are recognized as one of the first scenes in the Metaverse. .

Then, at the end of last year, Alibaba established a wholly-owned subsidiary “Mr. Yuanjing”. According to Tianyancha data, the company has a registered capital of 10 million yuan, and its business scope covers software development, computer system services, and performance brokerage. Ali insiders revealed that the company’s future business is related to the Metaverse, and the newly established “Mr. Yuanjing” may be Ali’s further layout in the field of Metaverse games. In addition, Ali has also applied for the registration of trademarks such as “Ali Metaverse” and “Taobao Metaverse”.

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

Relevant executives of Alibaba did not forget to drum and cheer for the Metaverse on any occasion. At the Hangzhou 2021 Yunqi Conference, Tan Ping, head of the XR Lab of Alibaba Dharma Academy, said in his speech, “The Metaverse is the next generation of the Internet. I believe that the new display and new interaction based on the new computing platform are the Metaverse. Nature.”

In 2022, Ali will also continue to run wildly on the road of the Metaverse. In addition to investing in Nreal, it recently announced plans to launch augmented reality glasses for virtual meetings this year.

“Ali is a domestic Internet giant with a sufficient market share, while Nreal is the leading company in the AR glasses industry in China. Ali’s investment in Nreal may be the reason for further in-depth research and development, sales and promotion. An important signal of cooperation.” Wang Feng (pseudonym), an investor who has been concerned about the TMT field for a long time, said to Pencil Road.

 03

 

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

  No big factory has nothing to do with the Metaverse

From the perspective of the current development of the Metaverse, both the underlying technology and the application scenarios are still in the early stages of development, but this also means that the Metaverse still has a lot of room for development. Therefore, if technology giants with multiple advantages want to hold on to the market, or if some other companies want to gain the opportunity to overtake in corners, they must make arrangements in advance, or even add code yuan to the universe track.

The Internet giants at the forefront are Tencent and ByteDance.

Tencent was the first to act. In 2019, Tencent reached a strategic partnership with Roblox, a well-known technology company, established a professional team to study Metaverse development technology, and established Roblox China Holding Company. Tencent already distributes and operates a localized version of the Roblox platform in China called “Roblox”. In March 2021, Roblox wrote the concept of “Metaverse” into the prospectus for the first time, and successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange. On the first day of listing, it closed up 54.4%, and its valuation increased from $4 billion a year ago to $450 million. One hundred million U.S. dollars.

Ali attacked the Metaverse: 380 million

If Tencent’s cooperation with Roblox in 2019 was an accidental advance into the Metaverse, then ByteDance seized the opportunity to enter the game quickly.

On July 29, 2021, the “China Metaverse Industry Development Forum” was held for the first time at the 19th China Digital Entertainment Industry Conference. The frequent appearance of the word Metaverse also attracted the attention of the technology industry and capital. Then at the end of August, ByteDance acquired Pico for 5 billion yuan and officially entered VR. This most famous acquisition in the technology industry in 2021 shocked the entire industry at once, and made the concept of the Metaverse boil.

According to the Pico VR applet, pico’s offline channels have spread all over: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and other cities. In addition to self-operated stores, there are four sales methods: self-service machines, dealers, and operators. According to relevant news in the industry, because Byte’s marketing effect on Pico far exceeded previous expectations, Byte has raised its original VR sales target for 2022, from 1 million units to about 1.8 million units. Pico became ByteDance and provided a passport to the Metaverse.

At the beginning of 2022, the Metaverse Circuit will continue to maintain a rapid development trend. On January 10, it was reported that Tencent planned to spend 2.6-2.7 billion yuan to acquire Black Shark Technology, a gaming mobile phone company. After the transaction is completed, Black Shark’s business focus will shift from gaming phones to VR devices, providing Tencent with a VR hardware portal. According to sources, this also means that Tencent will officially enter the Metaverse field in the future like ByteDance’s acquisition of Pico.

However, it is clear that the Metaverse is not just a simple explosion of industries such as AR/VR equipment. “The reason why Metaverse is favored by various Internet companies is also because it is related to the development of many industries and its possible long-term impact on society. ” An investor who pays attention to the Metaverse Circuit, Li Lei (pseudonym) thinks so.

For example, for the industrial industry, the emergence of the industrial Metaverse allows engineers to easily enter the internal observation of industrial virtual components, and complete the work more efficiently and completely, avoiding the work risks of the previous industrial manufacturing industry. The virtual environment allows users to test the car in a “virtual meta scene”.

For the cultural tourism industry, the Metaverse allows us to travel the world without leaving home, and experience fun and immersion in a virtual environment; for the gaming industry, the Metaverse can provide creative, open-ended exploration. , to connect with reality.

But some people are worried that if Internet giants have entered the Metaverse, will they bring about new monopolies?The realization of the Metaverse scene requires a huge investment of human and material resources, and at the same time to achieve large-scale connections, so some experts say that the Metaverse actually has an inherent monopoly.

In addition, new problems will arise. Many companies emphasize decentralization when designing the Metaverse, but no Internet development is the result of decentralization. Most users are still concentrated in several platforms, and the platforms will form powerful data insights. power, so as to achieve platform monopoly and big data.

“The Metaverse is like an embodied Internet, so that users are not simply browsing content, but are in the Internet. Here, how can users discern the relationship between the real world and the Metaverse? How to prevent People are immersed in the Metaverse scene and cannot extricate themselves? Can the Metaverse guarantee the privacy and security of data?” Relevant experts believe that the development of the Metaverse is also an extension of the Internet, but problems will also follow with the development of the Internet.

In any case, the Metaverse era has come, and the problems of development will be answered one by one.

References:

“After the market value fell by 2.8 trillion during the year, Alibaba entered the Metaverse and spent tens of millions to establish a new company”

“Another AR company receives $60 million in financing! Plus Code Metaverse, Sequoia, Turtleneck, and Tencent are all here”

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