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Korean game maker Smilegate’s virtual character Han Yua attracts so many fans. Han has gained big popularity as she looks very like a human. Photo courtesy of Smilegate

South Korean firms launch new digital characters

An increasing number of South Korean corporations have come up with artificial intelligence-powered characters, which are winning the hearts and minds of people.

The country’s high-tech companies like Smilegate, Samsung Electronics, and LG Electronics are leading the trend.

Seoul-based game company Smilegate disclosed AI influencer Han Yua in its game in 2019. She went through an upgrade to attract fans as she looked very realistic.

She now boasts of tens of thousands of Instagram followers. Earlier this year, a local entertainment company even signed a contract with her for broadcasting, TV commercials, and YouTube.

Samsung Electronics debuted NEON in 2020 through the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Its upgraded version also appeared at the 2021 CES where it interacted with people.

Samsung’s cross-city rival LG Electronics also created its own virtual influencer, named Reah Keem. LG plans to debut her as a musician and, toward that end, picked a music label.

Korean insurer Shinhan Life promoted its launch with a virtual influencer named Rozy.

Even public corporations are joining the AI character frenzy, as amply demonstrated by Korea Trade Promotion Corporation (KOTRA).

Earlier this week, the state-run outfit said that it had introduced an AI anchor named RAMI, which is designed to deliver its global news via such video-sharing channels as YouTube.

KOTRA said that the digital character would broadcast a variety of news articles based on information offered by its almost 130 overseas branches across the globe.

Software Policy & Research Institute researcher Han Sang-yeol pointed out that virtual influencers have evolved over the past few decades.

“Early digital humans worked for TV programs or movies, which are one-way communications tools. It was a one-way street,” Han said.

“However, recent virtual characters can interact with the audience so that they can work as marketers or customer consultants.”

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Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at homin30@hanmail.net or 82-2-6956-6698.