(CBN - Global)July 12 -- Virtual reality goggles have become one of the best-selling electronics this year. You can fork out thousands of yuan for the real thing in China, or just a few for a 'copycat' pair on Taobao, the country's leading online consumer-to-consumer marketplace.
VR goggles sell for between CNY9.9 (USD1.48) and tens of thousands of yuan a pair on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Taobao, the Beijing Youth Daily reports. Most of the top 10 best-selling products retail for between CNY19.9 and CNY39, with the highest price no more than CNY89.
"Low-end VR products sold on Taobao basically derive from the open source solution 'Google Cardboard,'" said Internet analyst Mr. Luo Chao. "They do not use any technology and lack the ability to integrate content."
One of the most popular items, described as "the new arrival in VR glasses, mobile 3D, the 4th generation intelligent headset for movies, games and videos," is priced at CNY49.9. The retailer explained that these goggles are a "3D panoramic glass box," similar to the glasses offered in cinemas, which create a panoramic effect with two convex lenses. Some 85,736 sold in just one month.
The open source solution "is of some help to the VR industry, as it seems to have lowered the threshold for having a VR experience," analyst Mr. Luo said. "But it also has a negative impact, as some users may mistakenly regard panoramic videos as VR experience. A real VR device is one that uses technological equipment such as HTC VIVE."
Some 286 million Chinese are potential users of virtual reality products as 'otaku' men become the main consumers of immersive multimedia, according to a March report published by the National Institute of Advertising.
More than 70 percent of 'heavy' VR users are men, the report said. More than 60 percent of them are aged between 25 and 34 years. Chinese 'otaku' men use some kind of VR device for 34 minutes every day on average. 'Otaku' is a Japanese word that describes people with obsessive interests usually in 'anime' and 'manga.'
About 17 million people used VR equipment last year, and about 960,000 bought some device, the report said. Heavy VR users who are relatively more 'otaku' are also big buyers of other high-tech and digital products. They spend more than four hours a day online using mobile phones.