Investment in China’s Virtual Reality (VR) sector is heating up, driving new companies to enter the market. The latest on the list is wearable device manufacturer bong.
Huang Hao, bong’s director of operations, told AllChinaTech on Wednesday that the company received RMB 32 million (USD 4.9 million) in Series A financing. Enjoyor Group, a VC fund focused on tech investment, led the round of financing and planned to strategically cooperate with bong. Incapital, bong’s angel-round investor, also contributed to this round of financing.
“Our main focus was on traditional digital bracelets including bands and watches,” Huang told AllChinaTech, “VR products are also wearables, but most will be head devices. Despite the technological difference, they are equally important to bong, and we can take advantage of the experience we have making traditional wearables to make VR products.”
2016 is shaping up to be hot for VR. HTC, Sony and Google are leading the global market in the sector, but Chinese companies are also eyeing big opportunity.
“The user experience with many VR products is far from satisfactory. We are ready to explore this field.” Huang said.
He remarked that the “first wave” of wearables was dominated by mass consumer products such as fitness bands and watches.
“We are now getting into the second wave, and VR is the main focus. Man-machine interaction will be important,” he said. “There aren’t many technical barriers in the VR sector yet. bong’s VR products will feature comfort and convenience based on our understanding of the market and what consumers need.”
Despite the new exploration of VR, bong will not stop developing their wearable devices.
Founded in Hangzhou in August 2013, the company has released four fitness bands and two smart watches. Its first generation fitness band, bong 1 was seen as the Chinese version of Jawbone selling for about half of the latter’s USD 150 price. It could be linked to most iOS and Android phones. The second generation fitness band bong 2 has been competing with Xiaomi’s RMB 79 Mi band, with an emphasis on sports and long battery life.
Xiaomi has the edge, as it was recently ranked the third most popular fitness band globally, according to a Q4 global wearables market report by research company IDC.
Huang thinks western-made wearable devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch are targeting the medium and high-end markets with designs that mostly follow western aesthetic preferences. On the other hand, Mi Band, with its very low price, provides a more limited user experience. bong wants to offer fitness bands with a better user experience.
（Top photo from Miui.com）