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China tech

Shenzhen tech raises funds for avatar app

XiuDan company draws veteran investor as it seeks expansion

Xiudan app's avatars made with 3D and AR technology.(Courtesy of XiuDan Technology)

BEIJING -- A Shenzhen technology company has raised millions to develop a social media app that allows participants to interact as avatars that they have designed themselves and that can reflect their expressions and their mannerisms. 

Shenzhen XiuDan Technology, operator of the XiuDan app, has raised millions in a pre-series A funding round that was led by Qiming Venture Partners, an investor with holdings in technology bellwethers such as smartphone maker Xiaomi and online food delivery platform Meituan Dianping.

Participants in the XiuDan app create virtual characters that represent them. Using advanced augmented reality technology, players can customize avatars in detail. Unlike conventional avatars, those in the latest XiuDan version can reproduce players' moves on a real-time basis.

Its chat function also reproduces players' facial expressions as the app employs facial authentication and tracking technologies.

Other features include more realistic communication made possible by motion capture and weight sensor systems and a background automatic identification system that enables players to reproduce and rebuild their images at will.

Virtual social networking sites, created by XiuDan Technology, are the face of the future as they allow users who tend to be of the millennial generation to express themselves more fully, said Yang Xuyu, founder and CEO of the company. Yang said that texting and voice messaging are a thing of the past for the users of his company's apps.

XiuDan Technology has positioned 3D avatars as the foundation of its business strategy because it found from long-term surveys and analyses that more than 30% of users of its apps were born after 1995 and roughly 40% after 2000.

The number of registered users of the XiuDan series has topped 10 million since the release of the latest version, according to data from the company. The ratio of people who use the app for two days in a row is higher than 50%, while the number of activations and length of use are more than six times and more than 25 minutes per day, respectively, on average.

XiuDan Technology is planning to raise funds in a series A round.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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