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AI virtual hosts look set to disrupt China’s lucrative live streaming industry

Updated: Jan 8

[Edited] China’s massive live-streaming e-commerce industry is undergoing disruption from artificial intelligence. Virtual AI hosts threaten jobs of 400,000 human live streamers across top platforms.

Credits: Xinhua

Major Chinese cities aim to be global live streaming hubs. But tech firms push generative AI to create round-the-clock virtual hosts. This raises stakes in the multi-billion dollar sector.

Generative AI can create content like text and video. It brings sweeping job disruption in China. Cost of an AI host for vendors is much lower than a human.

AI host from Huang's company costs $70 per month. A human host with a studio can cost an average of about 50,000 yuan per month. Major brands are interested in trying virtual hosts. An electronics giant and cosmetics firm will launch AI-powered campaigns in August.

Both 2D and 3D technologies used for virtual hosts. 3D more creative but 2D more cost effective. Ultimate cost of 3D host still higher than human.

Application of virtual hosts still limited so far. But young people likely attracted to digital influencers. Baidu uses its AI to generate scripts for human hosts. This helped one vendor make 540,000 yuan sales on Shanghai Disney tickets.

Douyin and Kuaishou still favour human hosts. But e-commerce platforms like Taobao do not limit virtual hosts' traffic.

  • Generative AI creating virtual hosts for China's lucrative live streaming sector

  • Could disrupt jobs of 400,000 human streamers

  • Tech firms developing 24/7 AI hosts at fraction of cost

Source: SCMP

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