Nreal, an augmented reality (AR) technology startup based in Beijing, announced on August 25 that it has received strategic investment of $15 million from IICOMBINED, the parent company of South Korean sunglasses brand Gentle Monster.
In September last year, Nreal completed financing of over $100 million, jointly led by NIO Capital, Yunfeng Capital and Aplus Capital. Less than a year later, Nreal received $60 million in round-C+ financing led by Alibaba. Since its establishment in 2017, the company has raised more than $240 million.
Strategy Analytics, a market research organization, predicted that by 2027, global AR equipment shipments will approach 60 million units. Xu Chi, the founder and CEO of Nreal, is even bolder in predicting the future: “I think AR is the best hardware carrier and terminal for the next generation internet. By 2030, there will be one billion AR glasses in the world.”
At present, the development of Nreal still focuses on hardware products and content experience. On August 23, Nreal held China’s first AR glasses conference in Beijing, officially launching two AR glasses for the Chinese market: Nreal X for developers, pioneer creators and tech tastemakers, and Nreal Air for ordinary consumers. Nreal X, as the first product launched by Nreal, has been introduced to overseas markets before. Nreal Air was also released in Japan and the UK in February and May this year respectively. In terms of AR content, Nreal has cooperated with iQIYI, China Mobile’s Migu, NIO and Kuaishou to develop and customize innovative experiences in the AR field.
Xu believes that the AR industry is currently in its best era, and the subdivision of the industry is far from reaching a bottleneck stage. “Next, Nreal will guarantee the release of at least one or two new products every year,” said Xu.
Since Nreal is mainly focused on overseas markets such as the UK, America, Japan and South Korea, there are doubts about whether Nreal will shift its market focus to China. As Xu told Chinese media outlet 36Kr, “Domestic and foreign markets are both our focus. China is very important for us, and entering the country should be very formal and prudent. The exploration of overseas markets has brought Nreal a lot of experience, which is to save energy for opening up the Chinese market.”
Xu added, “Nreal has been committed to providing every player in the world with a mixed reality experience, paying more attention to the integration with art and design while focusing on technological attributes. In the future, we will continue to carry out technological innovation and content ecology expansion around the consumer AR market.”