Li Ruigang’s CMC invests in US-based VR start-up, NextVR
Company’s second VR investment in the US in a year, after Jaunt. Li says sector becoming the “fundamental gene” in the entertainment industry
China Media Capital (CMC), controlled by Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang, has invested in Los Angles-based live streaming company NextVR, marking its second investment in a US virtual reality startup within a year.
The Shanghai-based CMC said it was one of the investors in the series B financing of the US firm, which owns over 36 patents in VR live streaming, and has already used the technology to show NBA matches and The Masters golf, without disclosing the investment amount or the size of its equity stake.
The total amount of NextVR’s series B financing was US$80 million, some mainland media reported.
CMC, with its mainland technology arm Whaley, will cooperate with NextVR in developing business in China, according to a CMC statement.
The deal comes after CMC, along with other four investors including The Walt Disney Company and Evolution Media Partners, collectively splashed out US$65 million on the series C financing in Silicon Valley-based virtual reality firm Jaunt in September last year. Jaunt, in partnership with CMC and Shanghai Media Group (SMG), established Jaunt China in May this year.
“Both Jaunt and NextVR are pioneers of the global VR industry...The investments offer CMC direct access to the latest research and development fruits in the area, as well as to the major VR content including sport, music and videos,” CMC said in a statement.
Li Ruigang, once dubbed China’s Rupert Murdoch, said in CMC’s statement that VR is becoming the “fundamental gene” in the entertainment industry, and that leadership in the area plays a vital role in the development of entertainment companies.
“We will continue to pay close attention to the latest development in VR industry,” Li said.
He set up CMC with backing from his then employer SMG in 2009, one of China’s most powerful state broadcasters, and China Development Bank.
CMC has stakes in Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, and invested in Hollywood production firm Imagine Entertainment in March, the Post reported earlier.