Chinese tech giant Tencent announced the formal establishment of an extended reality (XR) department on Monday, betting on the virtual metaverse, according to three insiders cited by Reuters. Tencent declined to provide an official comment.
The unit was set up earlier this year but has been kept under wraps, the three sources said. The unit, tasked with building an XR business for Tencent that includes software and hardware, will be led by Li Shen, Tencent Games’ global chief technology officer, and will become part of the Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG).
The unit will eventually have more than 300 employees – a very large number given that Tencent has been cutting costs and slowing hiring, two sources said. Still, they mentioned that hiring plans remain uncertain because the company will adjust the number of employees based on performance.
In February of this year, Chinese media outlet Sina Tech reported that Tencent was preparing to launch a brand-new XR business, and had recently started an internal reshuffling of staff to take on the initiative.
Tencent‘s XR business was launched for the “complete reality of the internet,” with the goal of building a world-class hard technology team under the guidance of industry leaders. Tencent‘s internal reorganization will cover over 40 posts across three departments – content ecology, operations and technological R&D.
The company also plans to set up an XR game studio with an executive chosen from those already working within the company. Tencent has prepared several postings for the business, including operations, investment, software, algorithms, hardware, optics, structure, quality engineering and others.
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One of Tencent‘s affiliates invested in Shanghai Suihuan Technology Co., Ltd. last year. Founded in 2020, Suihuan Technology is a virtual video live broadcast developer and services provider.