China debuts AI virtual KOL Published: 2020/5/19 1:11:31

Chinese virtual KOL Ling Photo: Courtesy of Xmov

Chinese virtual key opinion leader (KOL) Ling made her world online debut Monday, leading the latest Chinese internet trend among positive influencers and cultural inheritors and showcasing China's soft power and culture.

Bearing a close resemblance to humans, Ling was co-created by Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Shanghai Xmov Information Technology and Beijing Cishi Culture Media Company.

Relying on its self-developed full-stack end-to-end AI technology, Xmov has opened the  process of intelligent characterization from intelligent modeling to AI performance animation technology which drives facial expressions, eyes, body and finger movements, and  generating short videos or real-time broadcasts to realize interaction and commercialization of virtual intelligent property (IP).

Ling's team will generate content around such characteristics as the national essence of Peking Opera and the combination of classic and modern fashion on social platforms like Weibo, Instagram, and Douyin, Xmov said in a statement.

With commercial programming, the 3D virtual figure will engage in business endorsements, live broadcasts, and participate in online and offline activities.

CEO and Xmov founder Chai Jinxiang said virtual IP value will be released at the maximum level via livestreaming and short videos.

The emerging virtual idol sector, backed by China's younger generation, has been on the fast development track in recent years, with more domestic internet firms increasing investment in this nascent sector.

Despite the size of China's virtual idol industry was less than 100 million yuan ($14 million) in 2018, with increased investment, it is expected to grow to 1.5 billion yuan by 2023, according to

Last year, virtual idol Luo Tianyi shared the stage with China's top pianist Lang Lang, marking the country's first concert between a holographic singer and real-life musician. 

Today, Luo's Weibo account has over 4 million fans.

The virtual idol trend first originated in Japan, where the IP industry has thrived. Hatsune Miku, a virtual idol pioneer, is an anime character who sings through a vocal synthesizer. Miku has performed multiple times in China, singing in both Chinese and Japanese.

An investor in the TMT industry, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Global Times that with the development of 5G technologies and the improvement of holographic technologies, virtual idol character richness and interactive abilities will grow stronger.


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