After a long time trying, Meta Platforms is attempting to open the door for its virtual reality technology to be sold in China.
- Facebook marked a significant transition in October 2021 when it announced its metaverse virtual-reality social-media platforms, and it has invested the entire company’s name and reputation in its success.
- Now the company stands to export the metaverse to China. Chinese tech giant Tencent has approached Meta with the desire to become the official partner for Meta’s Quest 2 headsets in Chinese markets. No official deal has been signed yet, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The deal could legitimize Meta’s venture by giving it access to one of the largest technology markets in the world—notably after Facebook was blocked in China in 2009 and has struggled to convince the government to reconsider.
- Chinese users cannot access Metaverse tech without importing and setting them up using VPN technology that illegally circumnavigates China’s internet firewall.
Why It’s Important
Facebook parent company Meta is betting everything on the idea of the metaverse, and it isn’t giving up yet, despite lackluster early interest. Last October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would change its name to Meta Platforms and be a “metaverse company.” The company continues to invest 20% of its spending into Reality Labs—the research and development team behind Metaverse.
As we recently reported, Meta released its quarterly investor call earlier this month. It marked the first time in several years that the company’s precipitous drop in revenue and earns had been turned around.
The deal would still present a long road for Meta to release its products successfully. Tencent could publish Chinese-language versions of existing games and features using Meta’s technology, but these would have to comply with the government’s strict restrictions on video games and media.
In the past two years, the Chinese government has become more strict in its interactions with western nations, cracking down on citizens engaging with western media and imports while encouraging citizens to be less reliant on video games and social media. The country actively pays social-media influencers to spread government propaganda, and its social media credit score reacts punitively towards individuals who overindulge in antisocial behavior.
Selling metaverse products in China would also raise data consideration concerns for the U.S. The recent push against Tik Tok’s alleged data harvesting has suggested that Beijing’s rivals will not tolerate corporate collusion with the Chinese Communist Party.