China Builds ‘VR Town’ to Get Ahead in Virtual Reality

Beidouwan VR Town in Guian New Area
Beidouwan VR Town in Guian New Area | Courtesy Guian New Area.

Guizhou, located in mid-Western China, is one of the fastest developing regions in the country, and a government-backed initiative to establish a ‘VR Town’ in a local economic zone could make the province a crucial part of China’s plans for a flourishing virtual reality industry.

The goals of the VR village are hugely ambitious. By 2019, the VR village is expected to be home to 50 companies with the capability of producing 1.5 million pieces of virtual reality-related hardware equipment every year. The village is expected to have an annual revenue of 1 billion yuan ($145,490 million), contribute 80 million yuan ($11.6 million) in fiscal taxes, and create 3,500 new jobs.

Beidouwan Bay VR Town is being built up in the Guian New Area, a state-approved national-level new area. The village will integrate five functions, according to a statement: industry planning and exhibition, scientific education and promotion, field trip and experiences, innovation and entrepreneurship, and a platform for trading and showcase.

Guiyang, Guizhou province.

Four major centers have recently been opened in the Guian New Area, including the Weiai Education Pavilion, an industrial planning center, a VR application center, and a tourism VR center featuring a farming experience. The first phase of the VR Town is set to be completed in May 2017.

In October 2016, the same economic area hosted a Virtual Reality Summit that included representatives from HTC, Facebook, Peking University, and Beijing’s Beihang University.

China is one of the few countries which is pushing virtual reality technology at a state level. Virtual reality is becoming cheaper and more accessible, and major companies such as Google and Facebook have ploughed billions of dollars into VR initiatives. The goals of the VR village may be ambitious, but China is sure to see a profit from investing in such a future-proof industry. China’s priorities appear to be in stark contrast to those in the U.S., where Donald Trump seeks to save archaic industries like coal, and remove the personnel resources needed for the technology sector to flourish.

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