Meta Platforms Inc. has approached the conclusion of a deal that will provide this technology giant with the opportunity to supply a mixed-reality headset to the Chinese market.
In this case, the specified company, when implementing a favorable scenario regarding the mentioned deal, will act in partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd., a Chinese telecommunications firm.
The media, citing a person aware of Meta’s plans, report that Tencent will make a version of a mixed-reality headset using hardware specifications and software from the American technology giant. The insider used the right to anonymity, saying that issues about the supply of the mentioned products to the Chinese market are currently being discussed in a confidential mode.
The interlocutor of the media said that there are plans to brand a mixed-reality headset. According to the insider, it is likely that these products will be sold on the Chinese market under the name Tencent. At the same time, the insider noted that negotiations on the relevant issue are continuing, which means that there are likely plans to change. The final decision on the name and branding has not yet been made.
Meta did not provide any comments in response to a media request for information about a deal to supply a mixed-reality headset to China.
Experts say that the deal with Tencent will mean the actual return of the technology giant to the mentioned Asian country. In 2009, the Chinese authorities decided to block Facebook, which is part of the Meta digital ecosystem, on the territory of this state. This decision was made as part of efforts to establish control over the Internet space after the anti-government unrest. Instagram and WhatsApp, which are part of the Meta digital ecosystem, are also blocked in China.
A possible partnership of the American tech giant with Tencent would also unite the two main contenders in the metaverse. Last year, the media reported that the mentioned Chinese company is considering the possibility of concluding a deal to acquire gaming handset maker Black Shark. At that time, many experts said that as a result of this decision, Tencent could realize its ambitions in the metaverse.
The media, citing insiders, report that Meta is also interested in establishing a partnership with contract manufacturers or makers of original equipment. In September, the tech giant introduced a new generation head unit called Quest 3. Meta increased the cost of its headset for the mass market to $500.
The relationship between the American tech giant and Beijing is tense. In August, Meta reported that it had managed to intercept a Chinese influence campaign. The tech giant described this campaign as the largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world. Meta has deleted more than 7,700 accounts registered on Facebook and 954 virtual pages on its other platforms, the owners of which distributed informational messages containing negative criticism of Washington’s actions and praising China. The technology giant also said that during the investigation it conducted, the involvement in the influence campaign of persons who are associated with the law enforcement agencies of the Asian country was established.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been trying for several years to establish constructive interaction with the Chinese authorities. But these attempts were not yet successful. Mark Zuckerberg has been speaking negatively about China lately. His position towards Beijing has worsened amid the growing popularity of the app for creating and viewing TikTok short videos. In part, the strengthening of Mr. Zuckerberg’s negative criticism of China, according to experts, is because the mentioned virtual platform challenged the dominance of Meta in the social media digital industry.
At the same time, many American technology companies are ceasing operations in the Chinese market. This trend is due to several factors, including rising costs, new data processing rules, and increased competition.
Meta was the global leader in the headset market in the second quarter of 2023. The share of the technology giant in the relevant sector was about 50%. This data was made public by IDC.
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