In recent years, the digital frontier has witnessed a paradigm shift with the rise of artificial intelligence and its diverse applications. Among these, the digital human industry has emerged as a sector teeming with promise and potential, particularly in China. The year 2023 marked significant milestones for this nascent industry, as reflected in the findings and rankings released by iiMedia. This essay explores the state of the digital human industry in China in 2023, drawing upon key industry developments, challenges, and the role of AI in propelling the sector forward.
To set the stage, iiMedia Ranking’s “China’s Internet Enterprise Platform Value in 2023” brought to light the frontrunners in the realm of internet companies. Giants like Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, Douyin Group, and 360 Group clinched the top spots, reinforcing their dominance not just in the broader internet ecosystem but also in their contributions to the digital human sector. These rankings weren’t merely superficial; they took into account a multifaceted evaluation framework that included platform value, user engagement, commercial viability, and a crucial component — innovation value. Significantly, within this framework, the use of large AI models for digital human application scenarios was a decisive metric, highlighting the intertwining of AI with the digital human industry.
As we delve deeper into the intricacies of the digital human industry in China, 2023 unfolded as a landmark year for the integration of artificial intelligence and virtual reality technologies. Companies zealously explored the digital human realm as a new avenue for business expansion. Yet, like any emerging sector, the industry grappled with a set of challenges. Technological innovation, the sanctity of data security, the economic implications of use, and the hurdles of cross-domain integration were the primary bottlenecks. However, companies displaying prowess in AI innovation, versatility in application scenarios, and a strategic approach to industry integration emerged as beacon lights, hinting at a future where these challenges might be effectively surmounted.
The “2023 China AI Digital Human Enterprise Strength List” further elucidated the industry landscape. Baidu, HKUST Xunfei, and the 360 Group were celebrated for their comprehensive strengths, with Xiaoice and Huawei not far behind. Each of these enterprises showcased the myriad possibilities within the digital human sector. For instance, Xiaoice, with its focus on “emotional intelligence,” demonstrated the potential of digital humans in roles that require emotional communication, ranging from virtual companions to game NPCs. Similarly, the 360 Group, underpinned by their “360 Intelligent Brain” model, presented digital humans adept at a range of tasks, from hosting events to customer service, and even representing business leaders at significant events.
However, as the sector matures, two critical areas will dictate its trajectory — product differentiation and the potential for widespread application. To permeate public life and secure large-scale adoption, AI digital human enterprises must transcend product homogeneity and carve out unique competitive niches. This involves an acute understanding of application scenarios and end-user needs.
Furthermore, the pivotal role of AI in catalyzing the industry’s evolution cannot be understated. Large AI models, with their vast computational capabilities, have the potential to revolutionize the digital human sector. Their infusion can mitigate the challenges associated with the high technical threshold and substantial capital investments that have hitherto plagued the industry. Consequently, businesses, especially SMEs, stand to benefit immensely, experiencing reduced labor costs and enhanced operational efficiency.
In conclusion, the digital human industry in China in 2023 is at a crossroads of immense potential and palpable challenges. With the continuous amalgamation of artificial intelligence, and as industry standards and policies evolve to support and nurture this growth, China is poised to lead the global stage in the digital human revolution.