In a recent development reported by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked in China.
The move comes amid Meta’s efforts to enter the Chinese market through a preliminary deal with Tencent, which positions the Chinese company as the exclusive seller of Meta’s VR headset in China. The headset is expected to hit the market in late 2024.
This collaboration not only marks Meta’s return to China after 14 years but also sets the stage for a competitive edge against TikTok-owner Bytedance, which produces the Pico VR headset.
In the United States, Meta currently offers the Quest 2 headset with a starting price of $300 and the Quest Pro headset priced at $1,000.
Earlier this year, the company unveiled the Quest 3, starting at $500. The blocked social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, had been prohibited in China since 2009 after authorities linked them to riots in Xinjiang.
The deal with Tencent holds strategic importance amidst strained relations between China and the United States, particularly following the Biden administration’s imposition of export curbs on certain high-end technologies.
In the Chinese market, Meta plans to incorporate cheaper lenses in the headset compared to the Quest 3, making it accessible in terms of pricing.
This version of the headset is intended for sale not only in China but also in other markets.
The collaboration outlines a distribution of responsibilities, with Meta securing a larger share of device sales and Tencent gaining more from content and service revenue.
The focus on a more affordable headset allows Tencent to provide games and apps, potentially gaining traction among Chinese consumers.
This venture into China comes as Meta faces competition from Apple’s Vision Pro, a new mixed-reality headset set to be released early next year.