Plow the barren soil of Mobile Augmented Reality in China

By July 18, 2012

Mobile Augmented Reality (AR) is a cool technology. Its adoption and enhancement have gained solid traction in advanced countries. In Japan, you can get coupons by catching your AR butterflies. In US, mobile AR has been applied to the test on food packaging that can pop out and show you recipes when holding your smart phone over the label. Then what about this trend in China? Well, still seemed to be rather nascent.

Mobile AR should center about interactive marketing and consumer engagement while simplifying purchase journey with a tinge of fun. So I began to wonder if I would like to integrate mobile AR into my branding/marketing purpose, what might be those ideal service providers in China? After a bit superficial research, must say few out there and seemed not that breathtaking. Perhaps I can list two companies here: Senseape (a startup in Beijing set up in 2012) and MXR Tech (Singaporean background, founded in 2008 in Suzhou).

So will Mobile AR have promising future in China? I say a definite “yes”. But what could be those current hurdles on this progressing road?

  • Rapid increase of penetration rate of smart phones in China (current rate is around 13%, but I see no big problem for this)
  • Critical mass and maturity of technology availability, especially comprehensive data for content and physical environment attachments (For instances:now Senseape’s AR’s functionalities are mainly covering Beijing city, not for Shanghai)
  • More education on Chinese consumers about AR, and has to be an integral part of the marketing campaign for brands and retailers
  • The passion of AR entrepreneur, in particular to promote and talk about it to the public, especially in the social media. Recently I tried to approach to an AR entrepreneur in HongKong and would like to ask his products and business visions. Although he said feel free to contact him via email, till this day, all I have received is his utter silence, even after my reminder email. Based on this tiny incident, I glimpsed no burning passion from this AR entrepreneur. Although I am not a potential investor or client to be impressed with, isn’t a regular consumer being charmed by his technology passion or brilliant idea the ultimate goal here? Something to think about. And this maybe the biggest hurdle for the development of mobile AR in China.


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