Pico - the VR arm of ByteDance, says to continue to invest in the business despite recent staff changes
Chinese article by 姜羽桐
English Editor 张未名
10-25 15:42

By Li Panpan

(JW Insights) Oct 25 -- Pico, the VR arm of China's tech giant ByteDance, has rebutted reports that it will gradually shut down its VR business and abandon the metaverse business, saying the news is false. It emphasized that it was in normal operation and had a minor staff layoff. It will continue to invest in the extended reality business in the long term, reported news outlet The Paper, quoting informed sources on October 24.

ByteDance acquired Pico in September 2021 and went into quick expansion. According to 36Kr news, ByteDance lowered its Pico overall sales forecast in 2023 from 1 million units last year to 500,000.

Earlier, the Paper reported that several core senior executives have recently left Pico. Its vice president Ren Lifeng has been in a state of resignation for the first half of this year and has not been in the day-to-day management for a long time, though he still holds a post in the company. Sources said that he will officially leave at the end of this year, according to The Paper.

After DyteDance's acquisition, many senior executives who joined the VR firm from Douyin have left or changed their positions. Ren is one of them.

Pico's president Zhou Hongwei is managing its hardware division directly, said the company.

Pico had more than 2,000 employees during its zenith. Around two-thirds of staff at its marketing department have left, and its tech division, even with a smaller dimission rate, has been halved from the peak, said the Paper.

Pico's headcount rose to 2,000 from 200 after the Bytedance acquisition, with around 30 percent of overseas employees. However, it has gone through several layoffs since the beginning of this year, letting go of about 20 to 30 percent of its employees in February.

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