Alibaba makes a metaverse move by leading a $60 million funding round into AR glasses maker Nreal
- Alibaba has led a $60 million funding round for augmented reality tech startup Nreal.
- AR glasses like those made by Beijing-based Nreal are crucial to exploring the
Alibaba has led a $60 million investment round into augmented-reality glasses maker Nreal, a sign the Chinese
"We aim to support entrepreneurship and encourage technology innovation," an Alibaba spokesperson told Insider when asked about the news.
Beijing-based Nreal said Wednesday it has now raised a total of $200 million after closing the series C+ round. It did not disclose which other investors were involved in the latest fundraising.
AR technology, like the Light and Air glasses Nreal develops, is key to enabling people to get immersed in the virtual worlds that make up the metaverse.
Alibaba has already started staking its place in the metaverse by registering several trademarks, including Ali Metaverse. It has also invested at least $1 billion in AR and virtual reality start-ups in recent years, Nikkei Asia reported.
Investment in metaverse-linked companies is rising. In the last quarter of 2021 alone, almost $1.9 billion of venture capital funding went to AR and VR start-ups, according to Crunchbase data.
Alibaba isn't the only Chinese tech giant to dive in. Gaming giant Tencent in October sharpened its metaverse focus with a new TiMi Studios gaming studio.
The metaverse market is expected to grow over 20% this year, before exploding more than 1,300% by 2030, according to Statista research. In 2022, its estimated size will be $47.48 billion, and $678.8 billion within eight years, the research house said.
Nreal, founded in 2017, has signed partnerships with electric vehicle companies and video-streaming services. It said it will use the $60 million funding injection for research and development, and accelerate its expansion into new
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