Description: Based on interest mapping and social portraits, Soul helps users form, cultivate and maintain connections with each other through machine learning. This social media app created a “Soul”cial Metaverse for young generations in China. The popularity of Soul app breeds abundant new professions and career opportunities in China. It gradually became a platform for content producers to make their creativity the realizable wealth, especially for the Gen Z, which cultivates the emerging creator economy. Some people who benefited from this new business model shared their experience with “Soul”cial Metaverse while several industry insiders analyzed the future trend of metaverse in this article. The advanced algorithm promises the user growth of Soul App. And the user’s high engagement in Soul community contributed to the vitality of its new business model. In the future, Soul will continue to make efforts to complete its mission, which is to build a ‘soul’cial metaverse for young generations.
Soul app is a Gen Z-oriented social media app. Based on interest mapping and social portraits, it helps users form, cultivate and maintain connections with each other through strong machine learning. Soul’s vision is to build a Soul Metaverse for young generations. At present, it has become a synonym for a metaverse social platform in China and even provided many new career opportunities and occupations.
Wang Lei is a slasher who lives in Xi’an Shaanxi province. Among his multiple sources of income, he admits that designing digital avatars is the most profitable bang for the buck. He has grasped the career opportunity brought by the rise of “Soul”cial metaverse and serves as an avatar producer on Soul, gaining a salary of about 45,000 yuan ($7,080) per month.
He sells original designs of different avatars to users who would like to pay for their “be-likes”.
Avatar is a form of content, and an avatar producer is a typical kind of content creator. In the physical realm, it’s hard for content creators to make their creativity a realizable wealth and interact with users. Corresponding to this fact, it’s also a bit difficult for users to access their favorite content. Metaverse makes everything much easier by providing a bridge between content creators and users. Metaverse platform like Soul has contributed to the growing creator economy in China.
A similar matter once has occurred in the US. Roblox made a success with 9.5 million developers building out and creating different experiences, avatars and games in its metaverse.
applying technologies like VR and AR, the “Soul”cial Metaverse can be described as an immersive virtual world.
Che Bin, vice-president and product manager of Soul, said that the handsome profits give birth to new occupations like that of avatar creator.
According to the latest data, over 80 official creators created 23,000 avatars on Soul, from the end of June to end of November last year.
Generally, the users should pay a range of 180, 300 and 420 Soul coins for these avatars, which are equivalent to about 30 yuan, 50 yuan and 70 yuan, respectively. For the limited editions, it costs a higher price, about 15,000 Soul coins each.
(A parent takes kids to visit the booth of the metaverse at a science fiction expo in Beijing in October. CHEN XIAOGEN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Mr. Bao, another creative artist, also shares his experience working as an avatar creator. Flexible is his first impression of this job. With a smartphone, he could easily make a living in his home. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the fear of virus stalked the city he lived. He felt so lucky to have this rewarding job in such a difficult time.
Being a fresh graduate, he could make a monthly salary of close to 40,000 yuan on Soul at the maximum. He benefited a lot from this new business model brought by “Soul”cial Metaverse. Such a career blossom seems to be the norm rather than the exception for Gen Z.
Che from Soul has a positive attitude towards the creator economy. Users on Soul are bursting with vitality and new ideas. He believes it will cultivate innovative business models and new monetization avenues.
“More importantly, it has become an important platform for users and creators to build an ecosystem, which furthermore will drive the diversity of the virtual platform and its sustainable development,” Che said.
The various avatar also attracted a group of consulting psychologists’ attention. Miao Xiaoxian believes she can see people’s personalities through their avatars. Every weekend, she holds a group chat room where she makes analysis on avatars, or personas, as she believes that people tend to use an avatar to hide their “real selves”.
Her analyses gain popularity online. Some of her audience would seek further psychological counseling on the platform. In this way, she found a new way to fortune and gained an annual salary of 200,000 yuan last year.
Paying for personalized avatars has become a unique purchasing trend among the young generation, especially the Gen Z consumers born in the mid-1990s and the early 2010s. Given this background, industry experts believe such a market has a promising future.
Among all the consumers, users from first- and second-tier cities have a stronger potential to buy virtual avatars, suggested by data from Soul. They accounted for more than 44 percent of the total users. Notably, the majority of such consumers are aged between 18 and 27.
Sina, an internet-based firm concluded that over 63 percent of the Gen Z surveyed have a strong interest in the metaverse. The report also suggested that as many as 26 percent of them even love to keep a pet in the virtual world.
The up-to-date technologies, like VR and AR, tactile glove and digital human, are the major attraction of “Soul”cial Metaverse.
“Generation Z is expected to become the new consumption power for the emerging digital market. Their way of information acquisition, consumption and living methods have been embedded with distinctive internet characteristics,” said Qiao Yu, deputy head of the Artificial Intelligence Media Research Institute of Sina.
“People enjoy the convenience of rapid technology development; they are also advocates of smart life. Generation Z have a richer experience with technology products and are more willing to buy and apply smart devices in daily life.”
Based on the metaverse blossom in the country, industry insiders state the new creator economy will take off exponentially in the next few years.
At the moment, local tech giants in China, such as Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings as well as startups are targeting at a potential l trillion-dollar metaverse market in the coming decades.
For instance, Xirang, an app launched by Baidu, is the best proof of their business ambitions. This app wants to build a land of hope for users, allowing 100,000 users to simultaneously join and chat with each other in a 3D VR conference. Another giant, NetEase, held what it claimed was the world’s first metaverse listing ceremony, its immersive activity system.
(Visitors play online games at the booth of Migu, a subsidiary of China Mobile, at an expo in Shanghai in August. CHEN YUYU/FOR CHINA DAILY)
He Chao serves as the secretary-general of the metaverse industry committee at the China Mobile Communications Association, an industry organization based in Beijing. He described metaverse as a sound space that can integrate with more content produced by users and social interaction, and promises actually a business model for content creators.
“The metaverse can realize the integration and interaction of the human, digital and comprehensive brick-and-mortar world. It can enable users in the virtual world to be more real and more diverse,” He said.
“The next decade will be a golden era for the development of the metaverse. But the current global metaverse applications are still nascent. Companies and users are expected to understand, use and enjoy it rationally.”
Metaverse’s global potential profit is supposed to approach $800 billion by 2024, which would be significant growth from $500 billion last year, Bloomberg Intelligence predicts.
In the future, Soul will continue to explore “Soul”cial Metaverse. Focusing on technology innovation and user interaction, Soul will make more users experience the convenience brought by metaverse.