• Wed. Jan 12th, 2022

Tencent nears deal for smartphone maker in major metaverse push

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jan 10, 2022

Tencent Holdings Ltd is set to close a deal to acquire Chinese gaming handset maker Black Shark, a move that could help the tech giant pursue its ambitions for the Metaverse, people familiar with the matter have said.
Tencent has started talks to buy Black Shark, a niche maker of gaming phones and accessories, according to the people, asking not to be identified because the information has not been made public. The smaller company, whose investors include Xiaomi Corp, will turn to making virtual reality headsets for its new parent company after the deal, one of the people said.
Representatives for Tencent, Black Shark and Xiaomi did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The potential acquisition was previously reported by local trade publication 36Kr.
Alongside global giants like Meta Platforms Inc, owner of Facebook, China’s largest tech company is a contender in the race to develop the metaverse, designed as a virtual environment where people can interact with the internet and others.
In a recent earnings call, Tencent chairman Martin Lau called the metaverse “a real opportunity,” while warning that the concept could take longer than expected to materialize.
The development of specialized equipment is one of the key pillars of the realization of the metaverse. Meta was an early player, buying VR headset maker Oculus in 2014, while main Chinese rival ByteDance Ltd bought Pico, a nationwide VR headset maker, last year.
Black Shark, a little-known startup that calls its users members of the “Rebellion,” sells its stylish phones and a plethora of accessories such as controllers in China, Europe and India. Last year, Tencent collaborated with Black Shark on a gaming phone that maximizes the effects of the premier’s flagship title, Peacekeeper Elite.