Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China since 2009, but Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is hoping to get back in that country with Quest, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report maintains that Meta has held discussions with several Chinese tech companies, making the most progress with massive entertainment conglomerate Tencent.

The Meta-Tencent talks reportedly came to a head late last year, with Tencent Chairman Pony Ma deciding to proceed with the negotiation first and “see what deals they could reach,” WSJ reports.

Undoubtedly the most complicated bit of the talks would revolve around VR content distribution, and how it’s moderated for Chinese markets. It’s said a portion of Meta’s global offerings could be on offer alongside Tencent’s own apps and services.

In 2009, Facebook and Twitter were banned in China after breaching Beijing’s notoriously strict censorship laws; the ban is thought to have been a direct effort to quel the July 2009 Ürümqi riots that took place in the country’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

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More recently, Chinese executives were allegedly worried that Zuckerberg isn’t seen as “friendly to China” due to lingering tentions over prior accusations of technology theft by companies such as ByteDance, maker of TikTok.

A Meta spokesman declined to comment on WSJ’s report. Tencent didn’t respond to a request for comment.

This isn’t the first time Meta VR hardware has made a splash on the Chinese mainland. In 2018, Meta (then Facebook) penned a deal with Xiaomi to release a Chinese variant of Oculus Go, sold by Xiaomi as the ‘Mi VR Standalone’. At the time, this was something of a quid pro quo, as Xiaomi was tasked with manufacturing Oculus Go, giving it exclusive rights to the mainland Chinese market as a result.

No such manufacturing deal is in place with Meta Quest 3, which is coming this Fall for $500. In the end, Meta’s current strategy seems less about getting its subsidized hardware into the country, and more about driving a wedge into the Great Chinese Firewall so it can once again tap into the world’s fastest-growing economy.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • XRC

    Unfortunately for Mr Zuckerberg and Meta, a trade / technology war is brewing between USA and China, which is starting to heavily impact companies like Nvidia and Micron.

    USA is blocking access to advanced microprocessor and manufacturing equipment, China is now blocking access to 2 key minerals used for chip production.

    From recent article in Guardian newspaper:

    “Jensen Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, one of the world’s leading chip companies said the restrictions risked causing “enormous damage” to the tech industry. In the 12 months to February, Nvidia’s revenues from China and Hong Kong declined by nearly 20% year-on-year.”

    “On Monday, Beijing set a hostile tone for Yellen’s trip as it set export restrictions on two minerals that the US says are essential to the production of semiconductors and other advanced technology. Chinese state media tabloid the Global Times said on Wednesday: “There’s no reason for China to continue exhausting its own mineral resources, only to be blocked from pursuing technological development…”.

    The measures came as the Biden administration reportedly prepares to expand its own restrictions on the sale of advanced microchips to China.”

  • Guest

    Somehow his accusations have been made true. Have never been paid for my apps that they have been selling in their store and when I complained about it they sent me some additional agreement that gives them the ability to gift as many of my apps as they wish, so I never signed it.

    • ViRGiN

      You sound like Pimax employee now.

      • guest

        You sound like a disgruntled former Valve employee!

        • ViRGiN

          Maybe I am!