ByteDance Founder Zhang Yiming plans to invest 5 billion RMB in Metaverse

The Metaverse is on fire.

In March of this year, Roblox , the first stock of Meta Universe , closed up 54.4% on the first day of listing, and its valuation rose from US$4 billion a year ago to US$45 billion.

In addition, Metaverse has also attracted a lot of big names such as Ma Huateng and Zuckerberg to vie for the first place. Zuckerberg also officially introduced the concept of Metaverse at the recent financial report meeting and pointed out the key role of Oculus as the entrance to the Metaverse.

This also attracted Zhang Yiming’s attention. Recently, a number of media reports stated that Bytedance will acquire Pico for RMB 5 billion and formally enter VR. If it finally succeeds, its entry path is somewhat similar to that of Facebook. In 2014, Facebook spent US$2 billion to acquire Oculus as a strategic business.

If you add in the code universe invested by Bytedance in April this year, which invested 100 million yuan, Zhang Yiming’s ambition to point to the universe is self-evident. asked Zhou Hongwei, founder and CEO of Pico, to verify the acquisition, but the other party has not yet responded.

Bloomberg quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that the relevant negotiations are still in progress and the two sides have not yet made a final decision. A person close to the transaction said: “The purchase amount may reach 1.5 billion U.S. dollars (equivalent to approximately 9 billion yuan).”

Occupying the first place in China’s VR market, Pico has received 4 rounds of financing

After a round of capital winter, there are very few independent VR manufacturers left in the VR industry, and Pico is one of them.

Public information shows that Pico is a VR software and hardware R&D manufacturer, committed to the development of virtual reality software and hardware and the creation of virtual reality content and applications, providing users with a full experience of end-to-end products and services. Products that have been developed include Goblin VR all-in-one, Pico U VR glasses, and Tracking Kit tracking kits.

In addition to the limited options available, Pico itself has a willingness to sell itself. Its founder Zhou Hongwei once publicly stated: “Some domestic game and Internet giants, I think they will definitely have investment (in VR), and we hope that Pico will be the best at that time. Yes, either with one of their collaborators, or with an investment target.”

However, what really attracts Bytedance’s large acquisitions lies in Pico’s excellent strength.

In May of this year, Pico released the new generation of VR all-in-one Pico Neo 3, and its 24-hour sales exceeded 10 million. The device continues the advantages of the second generation and supports 6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom). Compared with 3DoF, there are more freedom of movement in three positions: up and down, front and rear, and left and right. The increase in spatial displacement means the expansion of the use scene, and the user experience can be extended from static video viewing to dynamic VR gaming experience.

Pico Neo 3 is also equipped with a four-camera optical tracking system, which can track the user’s head, lips, eyeballs, and 26-point hand bones in real time with high accuracy. Actions such as squatting, and even facial expression recognition, combined with high-precision, no dead-angle position tracking, greatly enhance the sense of immersion during VR interaction.

In addition to technical advantages, Pico’s sales performance is also remarkable. According to reports, cumulative sales of Pico have reached about 500,000 units. According to an IDC report, Pico ranks first in China’s VR market share in 2020, with Q4 share reaching 57.8%.

In addition, the capital market has high hopes for the development of Pico. Up to now, the company has received 4 rounds of financing.

ByteDance Founder Zhang Yiming plans to invest 5 billion RMB in Metaverse

The most recent round of financing occurred in March this year. Pico announced the completion of a 242 million RMB B+ round of financing. Investors include Cornerstone Capital, China Merchants Capital, and CCB International. After the completion of this round of financing, Pico’s B and B+ rounds of overall financing have reached 435 million yuan.

The founder came from GoerTek, who also plays the role of ODM

Tianyancha App shows that Beijing Xiaoniaokan Technology Co., Ltd., an affiliate of Pico, was established in April 2015 with a registered capital of 35 million yuan and the legal representative is Zhou Hongwei. Zhou Hongwei is an entrepreneur in the GoerTek Acoustics department. Before starting his business, he worked at GoerTek for 10 years, mainly responsible for the hardware R&D team in Qingdao.

In terms of shareholding structure, Qingdao Xiaoniao Kankan holds 100% of Beijing Xiaoniaokan. The legal representative and chairman of Qingdao Xiaoniao Kan is Jiang Long, who is the younger brother of Jiang Bin, chairman of GoerTek. And Jiang Bin is also the actual controller of Qingdao Xiaoniao Kan, with a total equity ratio of 35.51%.

Among them, the Goertek Group is the largest shareholder of Qingdao Xiaoniao Kan, accounting for 26.61% of the shares. At the same time, the Goertek Group also indirectly holds 11.74% of Qingdao Xiaoniaokan through its 100% holding company Xiaoniao Technology. In the end, Jiang Bin accounted for 35.51% of the shares in total.

ByteDance Founder Zhang Yiming plans to invest 5 billion RMB in Metaverse

Zhou Hongwei has publicly stated that GoerTek mainly plays the role of ODM in the process of Pico’s continuous product iteration.

In the recently released 2021 mid-year report, Goertek also proposed the VR sector separately, stating that “compared to the same period last year, it is mainly because the company’s VR virtual reality and other products have increased sales revenue and improved profitability.”

Goertek’s annual report shows that its VR product shipments have continued to grow, and its smart hardware business revenue has increased by 210.83% year-on-year, and its share of revenue has increased from 23.16% in the first half of last year to 37.01%.

It is worth mentioning that GoerTek is also one of the main foundries of Facebook’s Oculus.

A person in the VR industry said, “GoerTek’s identity as an opponent and partner has made Facebook quite dissatisfied. Facebook once wanted to replace its role as a foundry. Therefore, GoerTek has been seeking to sell Pico’s products. Chance.”

After investing in the code universe, Zhang Yiming’s “Meta Universe” accelerates again

In April of this year, ByteDance also invested 100 million yuan to invest in the code Qiankun of the meta universe concept company.

The official website shows that Code Qiankun was established in 2018. The company’s products include youth creation and social UGC platform “Reworld” (Reworld), which is quite similar to the Roblox mentioned above.

According to the public information, “Restart the World” is developed based on the interactive physics engine technology system independently developed by Code Qiankun. It consists of a creative platform with a high degree of freedom and a social platform for young people with high participation. It is committed to satisfying users’ gaming and entertainment. Experience.

In the game, players can use a variety of basic modules, or deform or splice to make characters, objects and scenes of different styles, and the assembled material can obtain physical characteristics similar to the real world.

If investing in the code universe, it’s just the first step for Bytedance to enter the meta universe. So, the acquisition of Pico now means that Zhang Yiming’s meta-universal ambitions have accelerated again.

The acquisition of Pico has an obvious intention to “spend money for time” for Bytedance.

Similar to Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, ByteDance wants to rely on its own social, content, and global advantages to apply Tiktok and Lark to the next generation of subversive mobile phone terminal devices to build its own “meta universe” .

According to reports, at present, the former senior Apple engineer Li Xiaokai is in charge of related docking matters for the acquisition of the Pico team by ByteDance.

In July of this year, Li Xiaokai just joined ByteDance, under the new stone laboratory, as the head of hardware technology. He also tweeted a job posting on LinkedIn: Technical experts will be recruited in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen for the sensor and display directions. Specific positions include display optics, human visual system, color and image technology, etc.— —All focus on the field of VR technology.

Whether it is game companies being swept up by the meta-universe concept, or Internet giants entering VR on a large scale, all signs indicate that meta-universe is coming quietly.


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