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Reality bites for China's VR industry

Most businesses struggling to make profits in saturated market

Despite the initial excitement, many VR businesses are already struggling. (Photo by Mariko Tai).

BEIJING -- Virtual Reality has taken China by storm with thousands of arcade shops and headset startups scrambling into the industry, aiming to reap the rewards from what was once called the nation's "next big thing." However, in many cases they are already tasting the bitter reality of no profits, and even bankruptcy.

The findings are from research by Hubei Century Network Technology, a Chinese video game platform provider based in the central province of Hubei. Based on surveys and discussions with 3,000 VR arcades shops across China, the research found only 26% were making a profit. Profit contributions from VR itself were almost non-existent even among the profitable businesses, and many were using other services, like food and beverages catering, to offset losses.

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