Meta wants to sell Quest VR headsets in China. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself might be a problem.
Zuckerberg has alled Meta’s entry into the Chinese market as an important step in gaining global market share. But his own criticism of China and local tech companies could come back to haunt him.
Zuckerberg criticizes TikTok and Chinese censorship
Zuckerberg has been particularly critical of social media competitor TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance in the past. Among other things, the Meta CEO criticized TikTok for censoring content about political protests.
He also criticized China for bringing its own vision of the Internet to the world, where values such as freedom of expression could not be guaranteed. The social media app Facebook has been blocked by the Chinese government since 2009 because it refuses to comply with China’s censorship rules. WhatsApp and Instagram have also been banned.
Chinese authorities view Meta with skepticism
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, this criticism has led to a negative perception of Zuckerberg among Chinese authorities. This, in turn, could have a negative impact when Meta itself or partner companies seek approvals or licenses for a potential market entry.
Potential partners were also said to be concerned about whether Meta would accept possible restrictions on VR content in China. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Meta was seeking a partnership with Tencent to bring Meta Quest 2 to the Chinese market.
Customized VR content for Chinese consumers
Meta would likely need to build a Quest Store specifically for the Chinese market, completely separate from its global offerings. Another issue is how to handle user data. China is keen to ensure that sensitive and personal data does not leave the country.
If Meta does manage to enter the Chinese market, it will face stiff competition. In addition to market leader ByteDance with its direct competitor Pico 4, Sony with its Playstation VR 2 and most likely Apple with its Vision Pro are also competing in China.
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