Meta Quest China Launch Reportedly Hindered By Zuckerberg

Meta’s aim to sell Quest headsets in China may be hindered by Mark Zuckerberg’s past comments.

Meta’s budding partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent was first reported by Chinese news outlets back in February following Tencent reportedly scrapping its own in-development VR headset due to the high cost of the project.

To sell many kinds of products in China, foreign companies must partner with a Chinese company or set up a local subsidiary. Tencent has been selling and supporting the Nintendo Switch to the Chinese market since 2019, and Meta is reportedly seeking a similar arrangement for Quest 2 and Quest 3.

But this week The Wall Street Journal reports the partnership “faces challenges” because Chinese executives are concerned about Zuckerberg’s past comments. The report says Tencent executives “heatedly debated” whether or not to partner with Meta.

In a 2019 speech given at Georgetown University, while discussing the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong Zuckerberg said “on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these protests are censored, even in the U.S. Is that the internet we want?”

And during a congressional hearing in 2020 Zuckerberg said “I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies.”

These remarks mean Zuckerberg “isn’t seen as friendly to China” and may hinder his prospects of Quest being approved in China, the WSJ reports.

Another problem with launching Quest in China would be content. Meta and Tencent plan to work together to localize and translate games, while Tencent and other prospective partners also want to launch their content on the China version of the Quest Store. But the WSJ said these Chinese partners are concerned about how Meta would react to government censorship requirements, both existing and future stronger regulations.

For now the partnership is reportedly still in talks, and the companies haven’t yet applied for the necessary licenses and approvals. Meta may just be waiting for the launch of Quest 3 later this year, or it may be figuring out its content strategy amid the political concerns.

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