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Virtual influencers are gaining ground in Asia.

Oct 27 2021

Virtual influencers are gaining ground in Asia. As brands deepen their investment in virtual activations and the metaverse (the idea of a massive, centralized virtual community), AI-created personas and digital iterations of celebrities and influencers are becoming more popular among young people in Asia. Also known as virtual idols / influencers, these “synthesised humans” are racking up record traffic and revenues—China’s virtual idol industry was worth less than 100 million yuan (U.S. $15.5 million) in 2018 and is expected to grow to nearly 1.5 billion yuan by 2023 according to Newsijie. The trend stems from anime subculture from Japan and virtual anime characters like Lynn Minmay and Kyoko Date that were popular in the ‘90s, and today’s virtual influencers like Japan’s Hatsune Miku and China’s Luo Tianyi are building on their roots by using newer software to connect with fans via virtual concerts. Shopping platforms including Taobao and Tmall have even partnered with Miku and Tianyi to boost engagement during live shopping events. Virtual influencers Noonoouri, Aimèe, and Chinese megastar Angelababy (Angela 3.0) are also massively popular with the younger gen, and they have worked with luxury fashion brands like Prada and Miu Miu. Chinese video platform Bilibili reported a 225% increase in monthly average viewing times of virtual idol live-streams between January and October, signaling how virtual influencers could outpace engagement rates of IRL influencers. (South China Morning Post)