HONG KONG, June 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tailor Insight, the fintech market research organization, recently released a research report “WIMI Hologram, Facebook, Apple and Other Companies Make Rapid Progress in the Development of Content Plus Ecology”. VR/AR is a new type of technology nowadays. At present, after five years of development, the industry has entered a stage of accelerated growth. With the improvement of the experience of VR helmets, cost-effective products have been launched. Meanwhile, the game content continues to be enriched, global technology manufacturers are also continuing to invest, and AR products will also be launched in the next one to two years. On the one hand, VR/AR shipments have increased significantly, on the other hand, the application ecosystem is gradually improving, and more application scenarios will be implemented in the future, which will drive the explosive growth of the VR/AR industry chain. Now the trend singularity has shown, that is, in the second half of 2021, global sales may reach ten million units. Ten million is the beginning of the product uphill period. At that time, more ecological enterprises will be attracted to come together to enrich the ecosystem and the content. This is the beginning of the industry’s singularity.
From the perspective of global terminal equipment shipments, the market response has continued to heat up, and it has entered the stage of industrialization. It is expected that the compound growth rate of the industry will exceed 80% in the next three years, and the interoperability of different terminal forms will increase. IDC data shows that it is expected that VR/AR terminal shipments will exceed 76 million units in 2024, of which 35 million AR devices will account for 55%. During the five-year period from 2020 to 2024, the growth rate of VR/AR terminal shipments will be about 86%, of which the growth rates of VR and AR will be 56% and 188% respectively. It is expected that AR terminal shipments in 2023 are expected to surpass VR. Compared with the relatively flat terminal shipments in 2018-2020, with the iterative sale of benchmark VR/AR terminals such as FacebookQ2, Microsoft Hololens2, and the development and promotion of telecom operators’ virtual reality terminals, 2021 will be the year that the scale of VR/AR terminals will increase, as well as an important node of significant growth. In addition, the average selling price of VR/AR terminals will be further reduced, further stimulating the accelerated growth of VR/AR shipments.
Although there is controversy over whether VR/AR will usher in a “singularity” in the industry, most people generally agree with this statement. After the arrival of the singularity, the VR/AR content and ecosystem are expected to develop by leaps and bounds, driving the restructuring of the global industrial chain. It is understood that the most important application scenario for VR/AR is still games. In June 2020, Facebook acquired Ready at Dawn, the development company of the VR game “Lone Echo”, which will continue to develop more innovative games using Oculus’ latest VR technology.
In May 2020, Apple acquired NextVR Inc to enhance Apple’s VR capabilities in the entertainment and sports fields. Baotong Technology has launched a variety of VR/AR games, including sports somatosensory game “Fantasy Skiing”, FPS zombie fighting game “Lop Nur Zombie”, the casual game “Fruit Every day”, and so on.
In terms of AR, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 has signed an AR headset supply contract with the US military. The device will provide services for the US Army together with Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. Facebook announced the experimental AR glasses project Aria in 2020, marking the official launch of its research on AR. In 2021, it is expected to see more explosive VR games and AR projects online, which is expected to continue to promote the development of the VR and AR ecosystem. Certainly, VR/AR application scenarios are not only in gaming, social, medical, education, and other scenarios. In addition to games, there are also super high demands in the fields of VR education, VR social, AR medical applications, etc.
At present, the virtual reality industry is still being shuffled. Abroad, VR is already a game between giants. Many small and medium-sized VR technology and content companies have been acquired. In China, VR practitioners include Internet technology companies dedicated to marching into VR/AR, giants represented by Huawei and Baidu, or partners in the consumer field. Although compared with foreign countries, manufacturers in China have some deficiencies in hardware and content ecological construction, but there are still a large number of manufacturers taking the lead in the VR/AR field. For example, WIMI has entered the supply chain of leading manufacturers. Looking at China, whether it is in the upstream component, module, and assembly foundry links, or in the downstream complete machine link, the industrial chain is relatively mature. This may be the biggest support for local manufacturers to seize the VR/AR opportunities.
Related analysis pointed out that WIMI Hologram Cloud is a representative manufacturer in this regard. WIMI was successfully listed on Nasdaq in the United States in April 2020. After six years of development, a relatively complete holographic technology research and development system, holographic content production and storage system, and holographic commercialization system have been established. At present, the company has corresponding technical layouts in VR/AR-related precision optics, acoustics, sensors, precision structural parts, display modules, and other components. Moreover, it also has layouts in VR/AR system design and development, software algorithms, product development, and other fields. In 2020, WIMI’s smart hardware revenue, including VR/AR products and head-mounted devices, exceeded 700 million, and revenue increased by 140.0% year on year to RMB 766 million ($117.4 million). The closing was an increase of RMB 446.8 million from RMB 319.2 million in 2019. In addition, WIMI has also increased research and development expenses. The company has hired more IT engineers to engage in the research and development of advanced AR holography and related projects. The company also focuses on the application research and development of holographic AR technology in semiconductors, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data 5G, and other fields, through outsourcing technology development. The purpose of the company’s substantial increase in R&D investment is to quickly improve the holographic AR technology capabilities to maintain the company’s leading competitive advantage in the AR holographic industry.
WIMI has become the industry’s leading provider of holographic AR application technology. Since the announcement of the patent of the 3D holographic pulse laser processing device for optical holography, many industry application customers have shown strong market demand. Therefore, WIMI proposed 3D holographic pulse Lidar products “WiMi HoloPulse LiDAR”, holographic AR head-mounted displays, etc., to further expand the company’s holographic product portfolio matrix. WiMiHoloAR HUD can customize the following functional modules according to customer needs: optical processing, image processing, voice interaction, night vision imaging, augmented reality, ADAS, cloud services, and other technologies to realize vehicle data reading, Bluetooth phone, full voice control, and big data analysis, Mapbox map support, and related setting functions, to provide car owners with safe driving services and car value-added services. The holographic AR head-mounted display uses a head-mounted display optical system to be generated by a computer, and the holographic AR image source output is digitized and holographically imaged in the user’s field of view, thereby realizing an analog simulation technology that reproduces a specific environment. Immersive head-mounted AR display technology has the advantages of the large field of view, low power consumption, wearable, modular, stereoscopic display, and a high degree of customization, and is widely used. In short, WIMI is continuously accelerating its deployment in terms of hardware. From 2020 to 2025, the annual growth rate of AR software and content of WIMI is expected to reach 68.7%, and the annual growth rate of AR hardware is 67.9%.
WIMI Hologram Cloud is also stepping up its content ecological construction. WIMI has a comprehensive holographic IP rights content library. It currently has 132 holographic-related patents, 214 software copyrights, and nearly 5,000 high-quality, high-fidelity holographic content produced. Moreover, they cover a wide range of categories, including holographic animation, virtual live streaming, virtual idols, and virtual social. Among them, 2961 are used for educational scenes, 851 are used for tourism, 739 are used for art and entertainment, and 103 are used for popular science. In addition, WIMI’s content library is enriched with copyrighted content licensed from third parties. WIMI cooperates with various content owners to transform high-quality IP into holographic virtual products, so as to improve the operating system of the WIMI Hologram IP ecosystem. WIMI will provide partners with the above-mentioned holographic virtual products with its own IP rights, and realize the development of holographic virtual product rights and interests for users nationwide through the platform system docking mode.
The VR/AR field is a battleground for new strategists. WIMI Hologram Cloud in China started earlier in VR/AR, and the related industry chain is relatively sound, which will usher in a brighter prospect. Although there is still a gap between China’s domestic content ecology and foreign countries, domestic upstream and downstream content and application links are showing a trend of “all flowers bloom together”. Domestic VR/AR content and hardware have stepped up development, gradually narrowing the gap with foreign countries, and forming a relatively large commercial scale effect is just around the corner.
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Alex Xie, Senior Analyst
Fintech Research Team, Tailor Insight Research