Avatars are often used in place of traditional photos or videos on social media platforms like WeChat and WeiBo. They can be used to communicate with friends, share news and updates, or even just express one’s mood or personality.
In June Chinese pop singer Wowkie Zhang released a music video with a virtual character in a hyper-colored, animated world. The character was created by Zebra Labs as was the video. The virtual character will be turned into a piece of collectible reusable intellectual property that can be purchased as an NFT. Scarlet Li, founder, and CEO of Zebra Labs states that the company is waiting for the bull market in order to continue with the project.
Some Chinese celebrities have even taken to using avatars as their primary means of communication with fans. For example, actor Wang Baoqiang often uses an avatar on his Weibo.
This video, and Zhang’s use of a virtual character, are part of a growing trend in Chinese pop culture. In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of “avatars” – digital characters that represent real people in online spaces.
Some of the avatars created by Zebra labs will be based on real people while others will be original artistic creations. The characters are then used in videos, shorts, and social posts to cultivate an audience which in turn will eventually be monetized. There are also licenses to use the virtual idols for a fee.
NFTs can be used to represent all kinds of things including but not limited to digital art, music, video games, and even real-world assets like land or buildings. The virtual world offers a new way for people to connect with each other and create experiences together.
Li sees the potential for Zebra Labs to become the Pixar of the East and is planning to create an animated feature film in the next few years. The company is currently in talks with a number of distribution partners and hopes to release the film globally. Also in the talks are virtual concerts in the same vein as the Arianna Grande Fortnite concert. Li believes NFTs can be a vital tool in creating traffic for artists that are not signed by music streaming giants such as Tencent and NetEase.
The Zebra Labs CEO is in talks with various gaming firms in an effort to launch virtual concerts for Chinese artists by 2023. The company recently raised $5 million that will be used to build its metaverse vision. Most of the financial backing of the company comes from other companies such as NetDragon, Sumitomo- a japanese congolomorate, and VC firm SOSV.