The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are in full swing. During this Winter Olympics, in addition to attractive athletes. Lovely ice cream. Also attracting attention is the virtual digital human.
For example, CCTV has added a CCTV news AI sign language virtual anchor to report the news of the Winter Olympics and conduct live sign language live events in an accurate and timely manner. It is reported that this virtual digital human anchor is the first AI sign language anchor created by the “Baidu Smart Yunxiling” digital human platform.
Behind the virtual digital human, the virtual economy has entered a new stage of development. Since 2021, the popularity of the Metaverse has continued to rise around the world, and the attention to this field has continued to increase, and the virtual industry has ushered in an unprecedented opportunity to take off.
Relevant research reports show that in 2021, the scale of China’s virtual idol core industry has reached 6.22 billion yuan, and the scale of virtual idol-driven surrounding markets has reached 107.49 billion yuan.
According to the data of VR Gyro and 36Kr Research Institute, in the whole year of 2021, there will be 340 investment and financing events in VR/AR, with an investment amount of 55.6 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 128%.
With the further improvement of digital human theory and technology, entering into 2022, the virtual industry will be more and more favored by capital.
01 Zhang Yimou’s VR company received another investment
Recently, Qitian, a leading VR company, announced the completion of its B+ round of financing. Investors include Lakala and the Blueprint Haixing Fund initiated and established by Blue Focus as cornerstone investors.
In October last year, Danghong Qitiangang received Series B financing from Xiaomi Group, CCB International, Yecao Ventures, and Lenovo Ventures.
What is the origin of being popular in Qitian? Why did you get two rounds of financing in just half a year?
According to the data, Danghong Qitian was established in 2015. It is committed to creating the ultimate immersive experience. Its technical layout revolves around VR interactive systems, VR large-space positioning technology, 5G+VR, 5G cloud rendering, etc. It has become a company that integrates “XR content”. A cultural technology company integrating production + vehicle R&D + digital operation overall solutions and product implementation. The XR experience provider of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is the popular Qitian.
The company’s business focuses on landing large-scale XR venues, which can be called Disney in the XR world. The projects that have been implemented and will be implemented include Shanghai Disney Town SoReal 5G XR super space, Beijing Shougang “No. 1 blast furnace” SoReal 5G XR super space, Guangxi Liuzhou Xiangyun SoReal 5G XR Snail Paradise, etc., set foot in 12 cities across the country.
Compared with the full sense of technology, what is more interesting is the star-studded core team behind it.
The popular chairman and founder of Qitian is Qi Xiao, who was employed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and served as the producer of “Picture Scroll”; CEO Wang Lei once served as the general manager of Tiangong Yicai, leading “Longmen” and “Dragon Flying Armor” The post-production of blockbuster films; the national teacher Zhang Yimou served as the co-founder, and at the same time served as the artistic director of the popular Qitian.
With the blessing of an elite team, before its official establishment, Qitian has attracted many VC/PE institutions. In 2009, Danghong Qitian received a seed round investment from AVIC Trust; in 2016, Lenovo Ventures announced a strategic investment in Danghong Qitian and its brand SoReal.
At present, Danghong Qitian has completed 6 rounds of financing, including AVIC Trust, Lenovo Ventures, Mango Fund, Xiaomi, CCB International, Yecao Ventures and other well-known investment institutions.
It is worth mentioning that after Danghong Qitian won the Intel war investment in December 2018, it was left out in the capital market for nearly three years until October 2021 and February 2022. .
Such a financing rhythm is not unrelated to the re-emergence of the virtual industry. According to the “Investment Circle” report, from 2012 to 2016, the domestic AR/VR concept exploded, and the financing wave reached its climax in 2016. But then began to enter a trough, and once staged a tide of bankruptcy. Until 2021, the Metaverse swept the world, and the virtual economy was once again sought after by capital.
02 The next world culture with “Dili Lengba” completed three rounds of financing in half a year
Like the popular Qitian, which has obtained multiple rounds of financing in a relatively short period of time, there is also the virtual human ecological company Next World Culture.
On February 15, Next World Culture announced that it has recently completed the A3 round of financing, exclusively invested by Sequoia China. This time, we will also focus on the Metaverse.
Zheng Qingsheng, a partner of Sequoia China, said that he believes that the next-generation culture can better promote the development of the virtual human industry and promote the arrival of rich products in the Metaverse era more quickly.
According to the data, Next World Culture was established in November 2016. Shortly after its establishment, Next World Culture created and launched the live-action + animation interactive play “The Hidden Rivers and Lakes”.
The play is the first cross-dimensional new national style web drama in China. It inherits the character settings of Sheng, Dan, Jing and Ugly of the national quintessence Peking Opera, and is presented in the form of two-dimensional new national comics.
With the work “Hidden Rivers and Lakes”, not long after its establishment, Next World Culture won the angel round of financing from Wanhe Tianyi and Light Source Ventures, and then began to transform and explore the virtual field, and created a virtual image “Di Li Leng”. Ba”, jointly developed the virtual image “Tossman” of Huang Zitao with Longtao Entertainment, and jointly explored the extension of cultural tourism to virtual IP with the cultural tourism IP “Impression Liu Sanjie”.
In the second half of 2020, the virtual economy began to emerge. At this time, Next World Culture, which already owns the virtual IPs of “Dili Lengba” and “Huang Zitao”, has received a Pre-A round of financing from Shunwei Capital.
Beginning in 2021, the concept of virtual humans and the Metaverse has risen sharply, and virtual idols such as Luo Tianyi, Liu Yexi, and A-Soul have sparked heated discussions.
According to Tianyancha data, there are more than 288,000 related enterprises of “virtual human” and “digital human” in China. From 2016 to 2020, the compound growth rate of newly registered enterprises in five years is nearly 60%.
In this context, Next World Culture completed two rounds of financing of nearly 10 million US dollars within three months.In July 2021, Next World Culture announced the completion of a $5 million Series A financing, led by the genesis partner CCV, and the old shareholder Shunwei Capital. In October 2021, it announced the completion of the A+ round financing led by NetEase Strategy , Dongyu Capital joined the investment, and the old shareholder Shunwei Capital and Genesis partner CCV continued to join the investment.
03 Big factories have entered the Metaverse
It is not only the next generation culture that has received investment. In the whole year of 2021, there will be 16 investments related to virtual digital people, with financing amounts ranging from millions of RMB to tens of millions of dollars. ByteDance, Sequoia Capital, GGV Jiyuan Capital, Fengrui Capital and other well-known investment institutions have entered the game.
Among them, ByteDance has invested heavily in the “Metaverse”. In August last year, ByteDance acquired the smart wearable device brand Pico. According to public reports from many domestic media, the purchase price was about 9 billion yuan.
At the end of 2020, the virtual idol girl group A-SOUL jointly planned by Byte and Lehua Entertainment has officially “debuted”. In January 2022, ByteDance exclusively invested in Li Weike, an AI virtual digital man. In the same month, the Metaverse social app “Party Island” was launched. Users can create their own avatars, chat with friends, go shopping, watch movies, and enjoy immersive social interaction. experience.
In order to seek new growth space, large Internet platform companies have increased investment in technological innovation in the Metaverse, which to a certain extent can drive the development of digital infrastructure such as AI, big data, 5G/6G communication networks, and intelligent hardware that they rely on.
At present, people in the industry sing good and bad about the Metaverse. 360 Zhou Hongyi believes: “The Metaverse represents the decline of mankind and is always an illusory thing.”
But what can be seen is that at the moment when “everything is possible in the Metaverse”, the enthusiasm of capital will only increase. A few days ago, research firm Gartner released a new forecast report that by 2026, 25% of people will work, shop, study, socialize or play in the Metaverse for at least an hour a day.
By shifting from digital to Metaverse businesses, businesses will be able to expand and strengthen their business models in unprecedented ways. By 2026, 30% of global organizations will have products and services for the Metaverse.
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