Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced at the company’s annual meeting that Xiaomi has established a Xiaomi Exploration Lab to develop cutting-edge technology. The preliminary focus of the lab at this early stage will be in virtual reality and robotics.
“The fun of technology is about arousing people’s imaginations and satisfying ones’ curiosity. So when we’re doing solid work in building up our core products, we should also look up to the starry sky and the future,” Lei said.
Prior to this, a photo of Lei experiencing a VR headset was spread throughout Chinese social media last December, implying the smartphone manufacturer’s interest in the field. Apart from that, two Xiaomi-backed companies, Thunder and KingNet, invested in a virtual reality hardware manufacturer at the end of last year.
Xiaomi isn’t the only leading Chinese company venturing into the field of virtual reality. Tencent, the Chinese social network and gaming giant, launched their VR platform and SDK last December and will possibly have a VR headset introduced this year. LeEco, previously known as LeTV, launched its VR branch LeVR together with a VR headset and plans to produce VR content this year.
Virtual reality is regarded as a growing market for smart device manufacturers. Xiaomi’s failure to meet its smartphone shipment targets for 2015, may very well increase the strategic importance of the virtual reality business for the company.