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Home Technology Apple’s Vision Pro headset sets launch in China, where it faces ByteDance, Huawei

Apple’s Vision Pro headset sets launch in China, where it faces ByteDance, Huawei

by Tunae
Apple’s Vision Pro mixed-reality (XR) headset will be available for pre-order in China starting on Friday, four months after the gadget went on sale in the US.

Each customer is limited to purchasing two headsets and shipments start on June 28, according to Apple’s website. At a price of 29,999 yuan (US$4,138), it costs over US$600 more than the US$3,499 base price in the US, which does not account for tax, for the 256-gigabyte model.

The starting price in Hong Kong, where pre-orders start on the same day as on the mainland, is HK$27,999 (US$3,862).

The world’s second most valuable company has partnered with Chinese entertainment firms to navigate the country’s highly regulated online content market. Apple has said that Tencent Holdings’ popular Netflix-like streaming service Tencent Video will be available on the Vision Pro.
Other Chinese tech giants have also rolled out Vision Pro apps. In February, Alibaba Group Holding launched Vision Pro versions of its office tool DingTalk and e-commerce marketplace Taobao. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
There had previously been some question of whether Apple would be able to use its chosen brand name for the headset in China. Huawei Technologies has exclusive rights to the “Vision Pro” trademark in a number of contexts, including virtual reality (VR), through 2031. However, Apple’s application for the “Apple Vision Pro” trademark, accompanied by the company’s logo, was approved in March, according to corporate records provider Qichacha.
Some China-based Apple enthusiasts have been playing with the gadget for months via grey market rentals. People who had purchased the pricey headset in the US started leasing it to users in several major cities. Beijing-based start-up Vision Space opened multiple bricks-and-mortar locations where people can try it out for 98 yuan per hour.

Analysts expected the Vision Pro to reignite a languid VR market that has yet to push its way into the mainstream. Global shipments of VR devices fell 23.5 per cent last year, but “2024 is shaping up to be a year of recovery as shipments are forecast to surge 44.2 per cent”, in part due to “new headsets such as Apple’s Vision Pro”, market researcher IDC said in an April report.

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Apple is likely to face fierce competition in China, where many low-cost headsets are available in the price-sensitive market. TikTok owner ByteDance currently dominates the market through its Pico subsidiary, whose headsets accounted for 56.6 per cent of the market in 2023, according to IDC.

Meanwhile, Huawei is preparing to launch its own XR headsets later this year, according to Chinese tech blogs.

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