Sequoia China Unveils Hóng, A Digital Virtual Employee

Prominent investment institution Sequoia China launched its first digital virtual employee, named Hóng, on July 11.

This virtual employee, who has undergone limited sample training for deep neural network rendering technology, has been equipped with skills including core dialogue engine and multiple interactive senses. She is particularly good at third-party content triggering and first-party content production.

Sequoia China has already participated in investment layout related to virtual digital humans. In 2021, its Sequoia Capital China Seed Fund participated in the angel round and Pre-A round financing of Surreal AI, a developer of AI content production systems, and the angel investment round of Image Derivative Inc., a Chinese automatic 3D digitalization technology startup. On February 15, 2022, Next Generation, a virtual digital human ecological company, announced that it had completed an A3 round of financing, featuring exclusive investment from Sequoia China.

Since last year, the virtual digital human market has been favored by capital institutions, and related investments have emerged one after another. According to commercial inquiry platform Tianyancha, in 2021, there were 16 deals related to virtual digital humans, double that in 2020. The financing amount ranged from several million yuan to tens of millions of dollars, among which there were many well-known investment institutions such as Sequoia Capital, GG GGV and FreesFund. In 2022, funds continued to flood in. As of April 20, there had been nine deals in the field of virtual digital humans, with a total investment exceeding 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion).

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According to the “Deep Industry Report of Virtual Digital Humans” released by QbitAI, the overall market size of virtual digital humans in China will reach 270 billion yuan ($40.2 billion) in 2030. Identity-based virtual digital humans, mostly used for the social and entertainment industry, will occupy a dominant position, with a market size of around 175 billion yuan. The total scale of service-oriented virtual digital humans (mainly functional, replacing labor services) will exceed 95 billion yuan.