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ByteDance and Meta are battling it out in the virtual-reality market

According to The Wall Street Journal, Byte Dance, the TikTok owner based in China, is beginning to gain market dominance in the virtual reality headset industry that Meta Platforms has recognised as crucial to its future.

Byte Dance acquired Pico, a Chinese business that produces VR headsets, two years ago. According to the Wall Street Journal, this acquisition opened up a new front in the Chinese company’s rivalry with Meta, whose Instagram and Facebook services have been competing with Tik Tok for users and ad revenue as the short-video app grew in popularity.

Even while Pico doesn’t sell its consumer headsets in the US, its headset shipments have subsequently increased, making it the small but quickly-rising No. 2 to Meta in the global market, according to industry data seen by WSJ.

In order to reflect his bet on the metaverse, a more immersive version of the internet that will be mostly viewed through virtual reality headsets, Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook to Meta in 2021.

According to WSJ, the corporation has been investing a lot in that idea. Although the total income in Meta’s Reality Labs business declined 17% in the quarter due to decreased Quest 2 headset sales, the company stated there were more than 200 apps on its VR devices that had produced over USD 1 million each in sales.

In the past year, Meta has a 90% market share, according to research company International Data Corp. Its market share fell to roughly 75% by the third quarter of 2022, the latest time period for which data is available. Over the same time span, Pico’s market share more than tripled to 15%. No other manufacturer of VR headsets had more than 3% of the market.

According to IDC’s data, Meta’s headset shipments fell 48% from a year ago in the third quarter. The only headset manufacturer to grow shipments in a market expected to be worth USD 4 billion by 2022 was Byte Dance’s Pico, according to WSJ.

“We’re glad consumers have more ways to experience VR, because when they do, it helps fuel the ecosystem, which in turn encourages developers to create more great content,” a spokeswoman for Meta said. Byte Dance declined to comment for this article.

The market penetration of virtual reality headsets by ByteDance comes at a difficult political period for the business. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Beijing-based company is under scrutiny from authorities and legislators who are worried that the Chinese government may use Tik Tok data to spy on Americans. The Biden administration officials also want to attempt and force Tik Tok to be sold to a US company.

In areas that have been more receptive to products from Chinese enterprises than the US, Pico provides headsets for personal use in Europe and Asia. According to Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC, consumers in those markets have shifted to Pico in part as a result of a USD 100 price hike Meta imposed to Quest last year. The new price for Meta’s Quest 2 is USD 399. The cost of Pico’s primary consumer headset is approximately USD 450. According to him, Pico has also been made available in some foreign areas where Meta’s equipment was previously unavailable.

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