Baidu‘s Vice President Ma Jie, who was also in charge of the company’s metaverse business “Xi Rang”, has recently resigned. Despite the Xi Rang team not being disbanded, its future is uncertain as some members have already transferred or left the company.
According to sources within the company, the metaverse business is struggling to find a sustainable business model and lacks profitability. This, coupled with Baidu‘s pivot towards AIGC related businesses and reluctance to invest more resources in the metaverse, is the primary reason for Xi Rang’s marginalization.
Launched at the end of December 2021, Baidu had labeled Xi Rang as the first “domestic metaverse” product in China, envisioning it as a permanently enduring multi-user interactive space that transcends virtual and reality. In 2022, Xi Rang had hosted over 120 metaverse activities and spaces, spanning more than 20 fields including culture, art, automotive, and consumer goods.
Over the past year, Xi Rang had put significant effort into improving the research and development efficiency of metaverse products and reducing system operating costs. In early January of this year, Baidu launched the Xi Rang metaverse base MetaStack, touting it as the world’s first independent metaverse solution that could shorten the development cycle of metaverse from six months to a year to just 40 days.
At the beginning of this year, Tencent announced the cancellation of all positions in its XR business, and more than 300 employees were transferred or resigned. The head of the XR business, Shen Li, had already left Tencent at the end of last year.
Considering that since the end of last year, companies such as Tencent, Baidu, ByteDance and others have made varying degrees of adjustments to their businesses related to Metaverse and XR. After generative artificial intelligence has become the mainstream hot topic in the current technology circle, the Metaverse field has cooled down significantly.