In a possible metaverse play, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited has led a $60 million Series C+ funding round for augmented reality glasses maker Nreal.
According to Nreal, the plan is to channel the funds into bolstering research and development, as well as accelerate its domestic and global expansions. The firm is also looking to strengthen existing partnerships with developers and partners to deliver a wider range of content and experiences to users.
Nreal currently sells its line of AR glasses in a few markets such as Japan, South Korea, Spain, and the US.
AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets have been predicted to have a huge role to play in the future of the metaverse, with Meta(formerly Facebook) and Microsoft already controlling large chunks of the market share, while the industry awaits Apple’s announcement about its highly-anticipated VR/AR device.
The latest round of funding raises the amount accrued by Nreal via fundraisers to $200 million over the past year, putting the Chinese AR device manufacturer in an elite league amongst other Chinese AR startups.
Other key investors backing Nreal from previous rounds include Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia China, Hillhouse, NIO Capital, Aplus, CICC Capital, Shunwei Capital, CPE, and China Growth Capital.
Alibaba’s investment in Nreal follows previous strategic investments from leading brands and institutions like NIO, Kuaishou, and iQIYI, as more firms are gearing towards developing AR-based integrations within their existing businesses.