HTC adds US$100 million to Vive X accelerator program

Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp. (???) said Friday that it will invest an additional US$100 million in its Vive X accelerator program, which aims to fund virtual reality start-ups around the world.

The new US$100 million investment represents the second stage of the Vive X program initiated by HTC, which has developed a VR headset -- the HTC Vive -- to tap into the growing business.

HTC launched the Vive X program in August with it first US$100 million in investment.

HTC backed more than 30 VR startups, including Action Bunker VR, LumiereVR, Directive Games, EdSenses, Shortfuse, CleVR and SurrealVR and Teemew, in the first phase of the Vive X program and helped them come up with various applications for VR technology.

The company will take applications for the second phase of the program from Friday to Dec. 1, and successful applicants will receive more than just financial assistance, HTC said.

Qualified startups will have the opportunity to work at Vive X accelerator locations around the world and gain access to advanced VR technology and mentorship, networking and even hands-on coaching from leading global VR experts, HTC said.

The Vive X program kicked off in Taipei, San Francisco, Beijing and Shenzhen in August. HTC said the program is expected to grow globally, with additional locations expected to be added in Europe soon.

The HTC Vive is one of HTC's gambits to diversify away from its core smartphone market, which is saturated and intensely competitive, in the hope of creating an additional revenue source and turning around its business.

The VR headset, jointly developed by HTC and U.S. video game supplier Valve, went on sale globally in April. It is equipped with tracked controllers that allow wearers to inspect objects from every angle and interact with their surroundings.

Meanwhile, tech website GSMArena.com reported earlier this week that Google has partnered with HTC's 1,000 distributors in India to sell the latest Google Pixel smartphone models.

HTC manufactures Google's Pixel and Pixel XL models, which are seen as Google's attempt to take on Apple Inc.'s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The report said that in addition to distributing the phones, HTC will provide maintenance services for Pixel buyers in India.

The Pixel and Pixel XL models, which were unveiled in early October, have gone on sale in the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom and received a positive response from consumers.

HTC's contract manufacturing services to Google bolstered its consolidated sales in September to NT$9.33 billion, up 41.8 percent from the previous month. The September figure was also up 31.35 percent year-on-year

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel