South Korean and Chinese companies are amassing patents for metaverse hardware, with LG Electronics and Huawei Technologies climbing the ranks as the electronics sector looks beyond the smartphone.
The global metaverse market is on track to reach $74.7 billion in 2026, a fivefold increase in five years, U.S. market research company IDC projects for the virtual and augmented reality fields. Specialized hardware, such as the 3D headset released last month by Facebook parent Meta, play a key role in accessing the virtual space.
LG Electronics submitted the most metaverse patent applications since 2016, climbing from 11th for 2010-2015, according to a ranking tabulated by Nikkei and survey company Cyber Creative Institute. Samsung Electronics held its position in second. Display color schemes and semiconductors are among the strengths of the South Korean companies, which have rapidly gained a presence in core components rather than headsets and other finished products.
Huawei, which did not rank in the top 20 in the prior survey, placed fourth with numerous patents related to image and display processing. TikTok owner ByteDance has also bulked up development capabilities through an acquisition.
Meta in third, Microsoft in fifth, as well as Intel and Apple, were among the six American companies to make the top 10, with Sony as the sole Japanese company at sixth.
The top 20 companies submitted a combined 7,760 patents, with the U.S. accounting for 57%, followed by South Korea at 19% and China at 12%. Japanese companies represented 8%.
Nikkei and the Cyber Creative Institute assessed patent applications related to virtual reality and augmented reality submitted in such markets as Japan, the U.S. and Europe since 2016. Roughly 20 categories were covered, including technologies related to communications, sensors and displays. Influential patents, such as those cited by rivals, were tabulated for the rankings. Nikkei Asia