China will ratchet up its push to promote the application of cutting-edge technologies, including virtual reality, in a wide range of sectors as part of its broader efforts to seek high-quality growth, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.
As a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation gathers momentum, virtual reality technology is nearing maturity, expanding human perception capabilities and reshaping products and services, Xi said in a congratulatory letter to the 2018 World Conference on VR Industry, being held in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.
China is willing to deepen international exchanges and cooperation in VR, share development opportunities and make joint efforts to create a smarter and better future for human society, Xi added.
As a frontier for technological evolution, virtual reality creates an immersive multimedia or computer-simulated environment that can be so convincing users will react the same way they would in real life. It can be used in healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment and other sectors to boost efficiency.
Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, the country’s top industry regulator, said that by integrating a host of technologies, VR is highly likely to become a fundamental platform for innovation, spawning new products and businesses, and even pioneering the next big industrial upgrade.
“VR is nearing the tipping point, with consumers having increasing understanding of the technology and enterprises starting to leverage it in product design, manufacturing, surgery and other cases,” Miao said at the conference.
The global market size of VR will exceed 200 billion yuan ($29 billion) by 2020, surging from the current size of around 100 billion yuan, according to a report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, told the conference it is crucial to incorporate VR into the real economy.
“No matter how popular a technology is among consumers or how sought-after by investors, the technology is of no real value unless it is tightly associated with the real economy and social development,” Ma said.
Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China, said mixed reality, a related technology, is the core component of digital transformation. It can help companies engage customers, optimize operations, empower employees and improve products.
“China is now the second-largest market for our mixed reality goggles HoloLens, just after the United States. As local companies scramble to embrace it, the country will soon become the largest in one or two years,” Crozier said.
Zhao Qinping, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said more efforts are needed to streamline the tools for VR content creation.