Amidst the financial struggles HTC is experiencing with its smartphone efforts, the company does seem to be on track to produce a winner with its HTC Vive virtual reality headset. Riding on this apparent success, word is coming out of Taiwan that HTC chair Cher Wang has plans to spinoff the company’s virtual reality development team into a separate entity owned by Wang and HTC. The move appears to be a welcome one to investors as they have sent the stock surging on Taiwan markets on Monday.
According to unnamed sources, the idea of a separate VR focused company spinning off from HTC was originally floated by former CEO Peter Chou. After he stepped down in March 2015, the discussions were set aside until just recently. Wang has resumed analysis of the idea and has even been soliciting input from employees about their willingness to move over to an independent company.
The move to separate the VR business from the rest of HTC’s smartphone business is seen as a positive move by investors who think it would shield the division from failings with HTC’s smartphone business. Most analysts see the virtual reality space as a growth opportunity over the next five to ten years.
HTC is well positioned with its own investment in hardware as well as partnerships with Valve and WEVR to develop the software platform and content. Wang has indicated in the past that she foresees VR applications spreading to areas outside of games or entertainment uses. She anticipates the technology could find a use in fields like medical care, education, property development, tourism, e-commerce and industrial design.
The HTC Vive is slated to be available for pre-orders on February 29th. Industry analysts will be watching to see how that process goes, especially given the anticipated $1,500 price tag. Even if HTC can make a strong entry into the market with the HTC Vive, they will still have challenges ahead to keep the business moving on an upward trend. Do not forget that at one time HTC was on the top of the heap when it came to Android handset producers only to be overtaken by other firms in more recent years.