NIO Capital managing partner Zhu Yan said he is bullish on the application of AR/VR glasses in automotive scenarios, especially the new possibilities of combining with in-car entertainment.

NIO Capital invests in AR company Nreal-CnEVPost

(Photo source: Nreal)

Nreal, a Chinese augmented reality (AR) technology company, announced Thursday the closing of a Series C funding round of more than $100 million, co-led by NIO Capital, the venture capital arm of NIO, Yunfeng Capital and Hongtai Capital.

Existing investors, including Hillhouse Capital's GL Ventures, Sequoia China, and GP Capital, participated in the investment, according to the company.

Founded in January 2017, Nreal is dedicated to AR technology development with a core team from Magic Leap, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD, Tencent, Lenovo, and Xiaomi.

The latest round of financing will be used for new product and technology development, mass production of core optical modules and advancing vertical market commercialization for consumer and enterprise users, said Xu Chi, founder and CEO of Nreal.

With the maturity of optical technology and the leap in computing power, consumer electronics are undergoing a major generational shift, and augmented virtual reality terminals are expected to become the new terminals of smart life, said Zhu Yan, managing partner of NIO Capital.

"We are bullish on the application of AR/VR glasses in the automotive scenario, especially the new possibilities combined with in-car entertainment ...... We are very much looking forward to Nreal as an industry innovation leader to accelerate the smart upgrade of transportation and cities," Zhu said.

Nreal is working with global carriers and cell phone manufacturers to implement a "5G+AR" consumer-grade business model.

The company has partnered with LG U+, KDDI, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, and commercial inflection points are beginning to appear in Korea, Japan, Germany, Spain and other regions, it said.

Nreal has developed more than 8,000 application development partners worldwide covering industrial, education, cultural and travel, and healthcare sectors to help companies innovate using mixed reality technology, the company said.

Nreal has closed more than $150 million in cumulative funding in the past 12 months, with historical investors including short-form video platform Kuaishou, CICC Capital, Sequoia China, GL Ventures, and Shunwei Capital.

The investment comes at a time when the Metaverse concept is highly sought after in China, and it is seen as the next stop for the Internet.

The Metaverse can be understood as an artificial virtual space that runs parallel to the real world, connecting the virtual with the real and providing users with an immersive and interactive experience.

On the critical path to the Metaverse, AR/VR technically solves the problem of interacting with the virtual world and the real world.

Soochow Securities analysts said in a report in late June that as the infrastructure for building the Metaverse matures, we are getting closer to a new phase of the Internet.

The essence of the Metaverse is still a virtual online world, and the rapid growth of the Internet and its user base provide the prerequisites for the realization of the Metaverse, Soochow Securities said.

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