The 2019 World Conference on VR Industry kicked off Saturday in Nanchang, capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province, highlighting the latest technologies, products and types of businesses related to the VR (virtual reality) industry.
Themed “VR Adorns the World, VR plus 5G for a New Era of Perception,” this year’s conference aims to explore the 5G-enabled development of the VR industry in the initial stage of 5G commercialization, which is expected to cultivate new opportunities for various VR application.
More than 7,000 experts, scholars and entrepreneurs in the field of VR, AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) from home and abroad attended the conference, nearly 300 of whom will share their insights at the main forum and 23 parallel forums, according to the organizers.
Antonio Julia just had time to sit down to sort his materials after seeing off a group of Chinese business representatives who came to inquire. His booth was a much visited one at the 2019 VR/AR Products and Applications Exhibition held concurrently as part of the conference.
It is the first time for the co-founder of DronOSS, a German startup that trains would-be drone pilots using VR, to attend the expo.
“Our VR training system will not only help increase flying proficiency, but reduce equipment losses since unskilled operation often leads to crash of unmanned aerial vehicles and other equipment damages,” Antonio Julia said.
DronOSS has found potential partners in Europe and Japan, and the hot VR conference brought the company and its co-founder to Jiangxi.
“China is a gigantic market, and Jiangxi has cultivated a mature VR industry chain. Hope to find a partner here,” he said.
With a tripled display area totaling 60,000 square meters compared with the 2018 edition, this year’s expo received 215 domestic and overseas corporate exhibitors and industry organizations from Japan, India, Germany and other countries and regions, demonstrating their latest development of VR and AR products and applications.
Tech giants, terminal device manufacturers and communications operators also brought their state-of-the-art products and technical solutions to the expo, including the newly released Huawei fordable VR Glass and HTC Vive Cosmos, Microsoft’s cloud and mobile technology incubation program, as well as 5G and VR-enabled smart education promoted by China Unicom.
Guo Ping, the rotating chairman of Chinese tech firm Huawei, said that VR and AR, which are revolutionizing human-computer interaction, will be the vanguards of 5G application as their technical challenges are being overcome one by one.
“VR with 5G is bringing the experience into a ‘comfort phase,’ and Huawei has positioned itself in building digital superhighways for VR and AR to help industries prosper,” Guo said.
THRIVING VR INDUSTRY
“China has one of the most active VR markets in the world, with an innovative VR industry and huge growth potential,” said Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology at the opening ceremony.
China’s VR market will amount to 54.45 billion yuan (about 7.7 billion U.S. dollars) by 2021, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
China shipped 2.26 million units of VR terminal products in the first three quarters of 2019, with a sales volume totaling 8.6 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion U.S. dollars).
Zhao Xu, general manager of the Nanchang-based Lenovo New Vision Intelligent Technology Co., said that Lenovo has invested a lot in the VR industry, providing hardware and software products.
“VR is the next big thing in the 5G era, with high-quality contents in urgent need,” Zhao said.
China has witnessed a maturing and expanding VR industry as the country pushes for high-quality development and extensive application of new technologies, with an improved value chain as well as strengthened international exchanges and cooperation for a more intelligent future.
A total of 108 VR industry agreements and projects worth 35 billion yuan were inked during the 2018 conference, with more than 90 percent of the projects have been either registered or put into operation.
Co-hosted by the MIIT and the provincial government of Jiangxi, the conference is held annually in Nanchang. China’s first industrial base for VR was launched in 2016 in Jiangxi, where a VR industry cluster is now taking shape.
Nanchang, with a 2,200-year history filled with rich cultural inheritance and precious imprints in humanities, is gearing up for building China’s first VR city. The city has a hundred-billion-yuan electronic information industry, which has been growing rapidly at over 30 percent annually in recent years, said Yin Meigen, mayor of Nanchang.
“Regarded as the next investment trend of the electronic information industry, VR will be better supported and thrive in Nanchang,” Yin added.
“The 5G commercialization is opening up new spaces for a wider range of VR applications, benefiting more industrial practices that need real-time interaction,” said Wu Shengwu, deputy head of the electronic information division of the MIIT.
Nanchang has seized the opportunity to build itself into a VR highland in China, and a futuristic city that is both physical and virtual, urban and natural.
Liu Qi, Party chief of Jiangxi, noted that the city will forge ahead with the R&D of VR technologies, speed up the process of VR applications in fields of life and production, and further improve industrial policies and talent training.
“We will endeavor to make Jiangxi go to the world and let the world know about Jiangxi through our VR industry,” Liu said.