The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

“The case is solved. The built-in Unreal Engine 4 engine makes the new QQ installation package almost 1G, which is to meet the internal test of the super QQ show.”

Zhang Qiang, an Internet user who has been observing product dynamics for a long time, said that compared with the WeChat installation package of more than 400 M (1G=1024M), the new version of QQ installation package has increased dramatically in size. The way of people “resurrection” super QQ show.

The QQ show was once a childhood memory of the post-80s and 90s. In November 2021, there was news that the PC version of the QQ show would be offline. Tencent claimed that it was only a folding. On January 25, 2022, the Super QQ Show opened the internal test, which also caused a shock in the virtual digital circle.

As the “grandfather” of virtual digital people, QQ Show now faces many competitors.

Liu Yexi, who became popular overnight on Douyin, Li Weike, who was invested by ByteDance, Ayayi who became popular on Xiaohongshu, Hua Zhibing, a virtual student of Tsinghua University, and “Jun Jun”, the virtual digital person of Baidu spokesperson Gong Jun , Nvidia’s CEO “Huang Renxun” who can create a digital human with fakes and reals is attracting the attention of the consumer circle and the venture capital circle.

“In those days, QQ also made its first pot of gold through QQ Show, and the value-added services and other businesses derived from it have made Tencent what it is today. The first commercialization outlet of the Metaverse may be the virtual digital human.” Just invested in the virtual digital human company. Wu Shichun, founder of Plum Blossom Ventures of Shiyue Xingcheng, told Tech Planet that he is very optimistic about the future of virtual digital people.

Today, virtual digital people with various gimmicks have also ignited this track. On January 21st, the hyper-realistic digital human service provider Ranmai Technology received tens of millions of investment from SIG, and it owns Ayayi, a virtual employee of Ali; On January 6, Hangzhou Li Weike Technology Company, which created the virtual IP image “Li Weike”, announced the completion of tens of millions of yuan in angel round financing, exclusively invested by ByteDance. Earlier, the company developed and operated the next world culture with cross-dimensional virtual IP content, and completed two rounds of financing within 3 months in 2021, raising millions of dollars.

Since January 2022, a virtual digital human company has announced that it has obtained financing every 3-5 days. The crazy entry of Baidu, Tencent, Byte, Ali and NetEase has also made the virtual digital human race so hot, mixed with On topics related to the Metaverse, virtual digital humans have become the focus of market attention.

Virtual digital crowd

“Hi, when we first met, what did you think of me?”

On the “520” day half a year ago, Tang Ying, co-founder of Burnmai Technology, and other executives gathered in the office, excitedly typed this sentence in Xiaohongshu, and then uploaded a carefully crafted image of Ayayi, a virtual digital person, to observe Ayayi. Debut on Xiaohongshu. “I didn’t ask Xiaohongshu to discuss cooperation, but I felt that the platform and the characters had a high degree of cohesion.” Tang Yan told Tech Planet that since it was a completely cold start release, he himself didn’t know whether Ayayi could become popular.

A picture, a word of hello, the company’s efforts for more than half a year, can it be released like this? Tang Ying didn’t know what to do, “Accompany you like a wife who is pregnant and giving birth to a child.” In fact, Tang Ying also has an inexplicable confidence in Ayayi, “Ayayi’s image has been adjusted for more than 40 versions, and the hair color has been adjusted for more than a month. We Self-confidence can impress young people in Gen Z.”

The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

The final result is quite gratifying. Ayayi successfully debuted in Xiaohongshu, and now the number of likes for the first published content has reached 100,000+. “This face is too good-looking, isn’t it?” “Is my sister an AI?” Many comments were very surprised at Ayayi. In order to keep it mysterious, Burning Mai Technology has not given a specific explanation to Ayayi. It was only with the release of more and more virtual life that fans gradually determined that this was AI.

Hyper-realistic virtual digital people often seek to become popular, whether it is Ayayi who became popular on Xiaohongshu, Liu Yexi who became popular on Douyin, and Luo Tianyi who debuted at station B earlier. The reason behind it is not difficult to understand. Hyper-realistic virtual people often have high demands on the appearance of the characters. Only when the IP is popular can they stand.

Coincidentally, the styles of these hyper-realistic virtual digital people are somewhat similar. “Short hair, sharp eyes, and delicate faces” are the main characteristics of this generation of virtual humans, and there are MERROR from Next World Culture and Gina from Snowpaw Technology. Of course, there are also the ancient style of “ling” of the next world culture, and the realistic style of movement such as Shiyue Xingcheng.

Tang Yan told Tech Planet that the final image is this cold but sassy, ​​very independent beauty image, which is not only a coincidence of the attempt, but also helps the IP to carry more connotations and facilitates entry into the fields of trends, culture, sports and so on. Recently, Liu Yexi released the short story “Liu Yexi: The Mystery of the Earthly Branches”, which is actually an extension of Liu Yexi’s independent and loner character, created for this purpose.

These virtual digital people are your friends, lovers, or even idols. They debuted in different ways, igniting the enthusiasm of the public. Many digital people have millions of followers, or even tens of millions.

Therefore, in 2021, start-ups in the virtual idol field, including Next World Culture, will receive a total of 25 financings, with a financing amount of up to tens of millions of dollars. Among the investors are Shunwei Capital, Qiming Venture Capital, Jinsha River Venture Capital and other star institutions . In 2022, many start-up companies have received financing at the beginning, and well-known institutions have begun to “sweep” virtual digital human head companies.

Giants are coming

Different from companies like Ayayi, which became popular by IP, there is also a group of virtual digital human companies, which are driven by technology. That is to say, they are more concerned about promoting the practicality and intelligence of virtual digital people.

Baidu, which built the “Xiling” digital human production platform, Tencent, which launched a super QQ show, and Hangzhou Li Weike, which created a virtual human with the help of XR glasses, are typical of this faction.

These companies also have IP, but they pay more attention to the research and development of related technologies. On the one hand, they hope to shorten the production time and difficulty of making virtual digital people, and on the other hand, let virtual people “fly into the hands of ordinary consumers”.

Baidu’s Xiling has three asset production lines: 3D realism, 2D realism, and 3D cartoon . Li Shiyan told Tech Planet that Baidu’s cross-modal generation technology enables the digital human’s lip synthesis accuracy rate to reach 98.5%.

Similar to Baidu’s thinking, Tencent currently has two business lines as virtual digital people. One is the hyper-realistic digital human Xiaozheng made by the mutual entertainment business group. Her identity is “Xinhua News Agency Digital Reporter”, “the world’s first digital aerospace At the same time, Tencent also built a digital human production pipeline xFaceBuilder®, and it took only two and a half months to create Xiao Zheng, who took the hyper-realistic route.

Another line is the super QQ show that QQ is promoting. The characters of the super QQ show are anime-style, and various cute images are formed by assembling different hairstyles, clothes and other accessories. However, from the perspective of the internal test, if users want to DIY their own face, facial features, clothes and shoes, etc., they need to pay.

The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

Super QQ show closed beta screen

Tencent is very hopeful that with the help of Super QQ Show, everyone can have their own virtual digital person earlier.The dream of Hangzhou Li Weike Company is even more lofty. Ru Yi hopes that through the subversive XR glasses and other means, the virtual digital human will become a partner that everyone wants to have in the future as a form of “Doraemon”.

Li Shiyan also mentioned this future: “The upgrade of the new generation of computing platforms represented by the Metaverse will allow everyone to enter the Metaverse through VR and AR devices in the future. The digital human or digital double is the infrastructure. On the other hand, enterprises or institutions can provide personalized services to thousands of people through service-oriented digital people.”

The start-up company Li Weike is a representative of betting on digital people in the Metaverse era. Its founder Ru Yi was previously the product general manager of Tmall Genie and a partner of Xiaomi TV. After leaving to start a business, he received tens of millions of yuan from ByteDance. invest. But XR glasses are considered cutting-edge technology products, Ru Yi told Tech Planet: The market will not usher in a real maturity period until Apple’s AR glasses are released.

The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

Hangzhou Li Weike Digital Human

Li Weike is a key company that ByteDance is betting on in the field of virtual digital humans. But it doesn’t stop there. In June 2021, a subsidiary of ByteDance also acquired Hangzhou Kanchao Information Consulting Company, which owns the virtual idol girl group A-SOUL.

Of course, Alibaba was not absent from this feast. Its Bodhidharma Institute is also exploring virtual digital humans. Tan Ping, the head of Ali’s XR laboratory, once said that today’s Internet is two-dimensional interaction, and the Metaverse composed of virtual people and virtual worlds is three-dimensional interaction.

Question, Explore and Commercialize

After the explosion of virtual digital people, there are also voices of doubt in the eyes of more attention.

“What can a virtual person do, just watch it?” “Are virtual people very naive?” and other similar voices.

Objectively speaking, most of the early virtual people adopted the animation style. They couldn’t move autonomously and couldn’t interact with people. It was a bit tasteless for a simple flat display.

But for the virtual digital human, it is no longer simply using CG technology to make an animation. The advancement of software and hardware technologies such as AI, 5G and AR has initially given the virtual digital human “soul”, making it more three-dimensional and vivid.

“Currently, the virtual digital human has reached the L2++ level, and it is already ‘assisted driving’ that can be implemented.” Li Shiyan, head of Baidu’s digital human business, described the current development stage of the virtual digital human to Tech Planet. At present, new energy vehicles are generally equipped with the L2++ level system, which is very important for the popularization of smart electric vehicles.

The same is true for the virtual digital human beings in the Metaverse. Various explorations of virtual digital human beings have also made the Metaverse still in the bubble clearer. The virtual digital human that can be commercialized is also accelerating the market’s understanding of conceptual products.

Different from Luo Tianyi’s early attempts to bring goods through live broadcast, the more mature commercial model of virtual digital people today is advertising endorsements. This is also the main reason why Wu Shichun invested in Shiyue Xingcheng. Shiyue Xingcheng, which has a trendy virtual track, has completed 5 virtual IP matrices such as Reddi and Vila in less than a year. Although the 5 IPs are not in the circle Top-notch, but it has also established cooperation with brands such as Gucci and China’s Li Ning.

The founder of Shiyue Xingcheng was born in the marketing circle and knew more about business landing, which also made Wu Shichun and Shiyue Xingcheng meet and decide to invest. At the same time, Shiyue Xingcheng also launched Meta Street Market, the first digital sports brand in China.

Another digital human enterprise, Ranmai Technology, also recognizes the profit model of brand endorsement. After Ayayi came out of the circle, “500 brands came to us to discuss cooperation, and we finally chose about 40.” Tang Yan told Tech Planet that they finally decided to find only one in one industry. For example, the car industry chose Porsche. , in order to cherish the hard-won brand effect.

Baidu, which is more accustomed to doing To B business, favors the introduction of digital people in its business image.Baidu’s current virtual digital people are mainly divided into performing digital people and service-oriented digital people. The deductive digital people have CCTV network virtual host Xiao C, space agency Mars rover digital human Zhurong, etc.Service-oriented digital people are more displayed in the image of corporate customer service. For example, Baidu’s first digital human is a bank customer service, and it has served dozens of outlets.

The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

Baidu’s two types of digital people

“I recently went to an outlet to experience Baidu’s digital human, and found that the number of business users in front of the integrated hardware and software of the digital human has exceeded the ATM machine next to it.” Li Shiyan gave an example of his personal experience to show the virtual digital human Prospects. In the future, there will be a large number of digital people online and offline. They can communicate with people smoothly, understand business and services better. This is the reason why Baidu is optimistic about enterprise-level virtual digital people.

Li Shiyan concluded that 95% of virtual digital human users in the future will be in these four dimensions: socializing, acquiring goods, consuming information, and acquiring services. Although Baidu also has apps for C-end users such as Xiyang and Baidu Live, Li Shiyan said that it would be more cautious to expand the C-end.

For Tencent, the virtual digital human business on the B-side is not progressing fast, and the super QQ show for the C-side will be fully launched in the near future. It remains to be seen whether it will set off a craze for users’ face pinching and interaction.

The trillion-dollar business that Baidu and Tencent are fighting for has reached a turning point?

The cold and hot of the trillion market

Today, there is no doubt that the concept of virtual digital human is popular, and the market is encouraged by its future imagination space.

“From the current report, the Internet-based virtual human market space is 270 billion yuan, and the virtual digital human based on Web 3.0 will reach a trillion scale.”

Wu Shichun told Tech Planet that the commercial value released by virtual digital humans is still relatively shallow. A virtual digital person endorsement cooperation is about hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, and the highest cooperation in the industry is three or four million yuan. In the future, more business and virtual digital people will be combined, and the market prospect will be broader.

For example, the commercialization of virtual digital people in the fields of live broadcast delivery and brand endorsement has just begun. In the Metaverse world of Web 3.0 in the future, virtual digital people’s social activities, e-commerce, education, games, payments and other business activities will all take place. , and maybe a lot of business models will change.

“We use Pocket 12306 to buy tickets (now it provides services in the form of web pages). In the three-dimensional world of the Metaverse, I believe it is a digital human plus countless visual interfaces, providing users with both information services and warm human services. “Li Shiyan is optimistic that the future digital people will provide more three-dimensional services.

In the practice of virtual digital human based on Web 3.0, Ranmai Technology is also faster. Ayayi-based NFT brands and digital blind boxes are testing the waters. This year, a multimedia digital art exhibition will also be held, which is an important direction for Ranmai to plan for virtual IP.

“Web 3.0 makes digital assets more meaningful.” In Tang Yan’s view, virtual digital people need to cross this step before they have real value. This is also the reason why virtual digital people will not go offline, just like Linna Belle is developing into a real entity, a door to the future has been opened, copying IP and going the old way of Disney is not a distant place that everyone values.

Of course, although the virtual digital human shows unlimited imagination, it also faces many development shackles and challenges.

For example, in terms of digital human expressions, there is a “uncanny valley” (the virtual human expression is unreal and it will feel like a zombie). For the real-time interactive feedback of virtual human expressions, various giants are in the initial stage, and startups basically do not have this ability.

On the other hand, it is the optimization of cost and efficiency. In this regard, the giants are taking the path of China-Taiwanization. In Li Shiyan’s view, Zhongtai is not only the fastest way to create virtual digital people, but also the best way to output intelligent modules, allowing digital people to learn intelligent dialogue and business knowledge.

At the same time, the development challenges brought by virtual digital humans are also emphasized.

Today, “Will virtual humans occupy more of the labor market and compete with humans for jobs?” has been hotly debated on the Internet, especially in the Vanke Group’s 2021 Best Newcomer Award, which was awarded to a digital person “Cui Xiaopan” “After that, the sound became more and more.

Cui Xiaopan is a financial and tax digitizer. He is tireless and always warm to others, so he has work performance that ordinary people can’t match. Not only Cui Xiaopan, but now virtual digital employees are emerging in various fields, and these digital employees are also making the workplace more introverted.

On the other hand, digital people in the Web 3.0 era are bringing more unknown challenges. How to avoid violations and hype also requires industry progress and market supervision.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/the-trillion-dollar-business-that-baidu-and-tencent-are-fighting-for-has-reached-a-turning-point/
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