Meet LING: China’s First AI Virtual Influencer

May 23, 2020 | BIZ, China, NEWS, POP, TECH

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China’s next superstar has finally made her official debut, but there’s a catch – she’s not a real person. Named Ling, the internet influencer and cultural inheritor is set to showcase China’s rich culture and soft power. 

When you check her social media, it’s hard to tell she’s only a product of technology. Co-created by Chinese artificial intelligence startup Shanghai Xmov Information Technology, and Beijing Cishi Culture Media Company.

Ling’s Makers

Xmov relied on its self-developed full-stack end-to-end AI technology to make its characterization process more seamless and believable. AI performance animation technology drives the facial expressions of Ling including movements in her eyes, fingers, and the rest of her body. Her makers also generate short videos to improve the interaction and commercialization of the virtual intelligent property.

LING - Virtual Influencer ©XMOV

LING – Virtual Influencer ©XMOV

What’s in Store for Ling?

The team behind the AI influencer is set to generate content that is aligned with the Peking Opera, as well as a combination of modern and classic social media platforms such as TikTok, Weibo, Duoyin, Xmov, and Instagram. Not only that, she is also set to participate in business endorsements, offline and online activities, and live broadcasts. 

It’s as if the success of the influencer is written in the stars. Backed by Chinese millennials, Ling has been under development for years. According to CEO and Xmov founder Chai Jinxiang, Ling will be released at the maximum level through short videos and live streaming.

LING - Virtual Influencer ©VogueMe Weibo

LING – Virtual Influencer ©VogueMe Weibo

Increasing Interest in AI

More domestic internet firms are taking an interest in the industry. The value of China’s virtual idol industry was at 100 million yuan or $14 million only two years ago. But now, it’s expected to increase to a whopping 1.5 billion yuan or more than $210 million. 

Last year, Luo Tianyi, a Chinese virtual idol, performed with top pianist Lang Lang. This event marked China’s first-ever concert between a real-life musician and a holographic artist. Now, Luo’s Weibo boasts more than 4 million followers. 

The virtual idol trend started to gain traction in Japan. Hatsune Miku, a pioneer AI idol has gained millions of fans through her music. She has also performed multiple times in China, singing in both Japanese and Chinese. 

You can check out LING at her official account at Weibo.

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