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China unveils its first AI virtual influencer

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China’s virtual key opinion leader (KOL) Ling has made her world online debut, leading the latest Chinese internet trend among positive influencers and showcasing country’s soft power and culture, a new report said.

Bearing a close resemblance to humans, Ling was co-created by Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) startup Shanghai Xmov Information Technology and Beijing Cishi Culture Media Company. The Xmov has opened the process of intelligent characterisation from intelligent modelling to AI performance animation technology which drives facial expressions, eyes, body and finger movements, and generates short videos or real-time broadcasts to realise interaction and commercialisation of virtual intelligent property (IP).

According to the report from the Global Times, 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 media platforms like Weibo, Instagram, and Douyin, Xmov.

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

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

According to Newsijie.cn, 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.


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