Alibaba, HTC Announce Virtual Reality Partnership

  • Tech giant Alibaba looks to bring both shopping and entertainment to consumers with virtual reality.
  • Consumers will be able to walk through shops and select items using VR.
  • Alibaba wants to provide VR entertainment via both Alibaba Pictures and online streaming service Youku Tudou.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba’s cloud computing division Alicloud and Taiwan device maker HTC announced a strategic alliance in virtual reality on Tuesday.
The Chinese e-commerce giant will support smaller companies and startups through Alibaba Cloud, the group’s cloud computing arm, to provide the environment for creating and distributing virtual reality (VR) content.
Alicloud (known as Aliyun in Chinese) confirmed its partnership with HTC on Weibo Tuesday afternoon.
“The companies will focus on developing breakthrough innovative solutions to tackle bandwidth allocation, data transmission and data processing needs in areas such as VR video production and VR broadcasting,” said HTC in a statement.
HTC began selling its Vive VR system in April and it also operates an online app store, which is expected to be made available worldwide soon.
“This partnership will accelerate the development of VR technology in China and encourage widespread, global adoption.” said Jin Ge, business architect director at Alibaba Cloud.
Alibaba Cloud claims that it has helped a VR team from Zhejiang University to render a three-minute 360-degree 3D VR video in three days.
In March Alibaba launched their own in-house VR research center called the GnomeMagic Lab. The lab is working with Alibaba Pictures and Alibaba Music to develop VR content.
In July, Alibaba Pictures announced it had established a new $300 million film and TV fund with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management.
The film studio has previously invested in several high-profile Hollywood projects, including Star Trek Beyond and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.
Star Trek Beyond (星际迷航3:超越星辰), the latest film in the rebooted sci-fi franchise, took just under $60 million to top the U.S. box office in its opening weekend.
It’s due to hit Chinese cinema screens on September 2, over a month after its North American debut.