xi's moments
Home | Film & TV

Digital humans make their mark in real life

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-12 07:51


Wider audience

One of China's leading streaming platforms, iQiyi, was among the first companies to invest in virtual beings.

Two years ago, it launched a virtual idol talent show, Dimension Nova, aimed at introducing such idols to a wider audience. The show generated popular hashtags that were viewed more than 1.2 billion times in two months on the Sina Weibo micro-blogging platform.

On New Year's Eve, iQiyi staged Retaland, a virtual concert in four parts based on various themes. The performers were all virtual idols, and one of them was created from the image of popular star Gong Jun, known for his role in a martial arts TV series. According to iQiyi, the concert was aimed mainly at Generation Z.

Lu Bin, head of a virtual idol studio affiliated with iQiyi, said: "Followers of these idols are mostly young people who grow up with anime, comics and games. Those younger than 24 account for the majority of this group."

The studio, which was set up in 2021, has signed more than a dozen digital beings, including band members, anchors and influencers.

One of the studio's star performers, D.M, features twin siblings Damian and Millie. The former is a handsome rapper, while the latter is a cool street dancer. They have their own accounts on numerous social media platforms, and perform at concerts and art shows.

A-Soul, a virtual girl group created by Yue Hua Entertainment, a leading celebrity agent in China, comprises five members, each of whom has a distinctive style. Members of the group have millions of followers on social media platforms, and they have been in high demand on Bilibili, a short-video sharing platform especially popular with Generation Z.

In 2019, Bilibili launched a section for virtual influencers, including anchors and idols. Chen Rui, the company's CEO, said at a meeting in November that the platform is home to the most virtual influencers worldwide. More than 230,000 virtual anchors broadcast music, dance and game videos to audiences mainly in the 18 to 35 age group. The air time of virtual influencers on the platform last year surged by 200 percent year-on-year.

Luo Tianyi, a virtual singer who debuted 10 years ago, is the most popular such celebrity on Bilibili. Luo's fans compose music, write songs and draw illustrations for her — contributing greatly to developing the digital avatar's personality.

At a cultural event to celebrate the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, Luo sang the song Time to Shine while wearing a light blue qipao, which gave her exposure to a wider audience. According to media reports, some 30 virtual celebrities took part in activities related to the Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital, including a digital avatar of champion freestyle skier Gu Ailing.

Unlike Luo, whose image is largely based on animation, many of her counterparts look like real people.

For example, Tianyu, modeled on the Flying Apsaras, a motif on murals at the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Gansu province, has won more than 3.5 million followers since debuting in April last year on the short-video platform Douyin. Many netizens said they could not tell whether Tianyu was a real person or not.

A clip of Tianyu on Douyin lasting less than two minutes garnered nearly 2 million likes. In the footage, she helps a popular TV actress fight a bad guy.

Tianyu's stunning beauty and stylish clothes are inspired by elements of traditional Chinese culture. The virtual star can play the pipa (a four-stringed instrument) and perform jin dance (a unique dance style in ancient China).

Zheng Yicheng, who manages the studio in which Tianyu was created, described the virtual being as "the beacon to spread Chinese culture to the world".

Tianyu has received many invitations to film advertisements for brands, including one in which she collaborates with an electric car company. Zheng said a number of cities have also invited Tianyu to act as an ambassador to help promote culture and tourism.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 Next   >>|
Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349