LeTV has taken its first steps into the virtual reality (VR) market, releasing a smartphone headset priced at 149 yuan (US$23). The LeVR Cool 1 caps off a year of hardware releases including the LeTV smart TVs and a high-end range of smartphones.
LeTV, founded in 2004 as a video streaming service, is looking to leverage its content resources to sell its VR brand. The company plans to integrate its video-on-demand service with upcoming LeVR products.
Currently, the headset is only compatible with LeTV handsets, the LeTV One and One Pro. The headset will also be exclusive to LeTV’s e-commerce platform LeMall.
“Few companies will fully handle VR business as selling the product requires premium hardware design, powerful cloud computing support and fruitful content,” said Ablikim Ablimit, VP of Strategy Management at LeTV in an interview with state media outlet Xinhua.
LeTV has previously released plans to use VR technology in live-streaming sports events and concerts.
Virtual reality is heating up in China
LeTV joins a number of Chinese companies vying to edge their way into the virtual reality space. Notable names include ANTVR, the Beijing-based company who launched off the back of a US$260,000 Kickstarter campaign, releasing new goggles and cameras in late 2014.
ANTVR is among a number of companies working with LeTV to develop its technology. LeTV also says that it has signed deals with LingVR and 3Glasses, two of the better-known local Chinese brands.
Investor interest in VR has skyrocketed in China since Facebook’s US$2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR. Last month, Chinese VR company GDI announced that it would list on the NEEQ, China’s third national equity exchange, also known as Xin Sanban. In September 2015, US-based Jaunt VR received investment from China Media Capital (CMC) alongside Walt Disney, as it begin a push to enter the Chinese market.