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Tencent's $5 million lead to AI founder ObEN, further layout of social AI

In addition to doing basic technology research, Tencent has said that it will promote the artificial intelligence of various application scenarios through business drivers.

Combined with Tencent's main business, it is not difficult to guess that the company will play in the four major applications of games, social, content and platform tools.

Especially in the social field, Zuckerberg has said that he will launch the VR version of Facebook last year and showcase the virtual character image tool Oculus Avatars; in July this year, Facebook said that Facebook AR studio will cooperate with Mito to provide it with three AR camera special effects. Today, Tencent has to act.

On the evening of July 18, artificial intelligence startup ObEN announced a $5 million strategic investment. The round of financing was led by Tencent, CMC chairman Li Ruigang and Feng Shang Capital. According to the data of the investment and financing information platform crunchbase, ObEN has completed four rounds of financing, with a total amount of $13.7 million. Previous investors also included S Rushan Capital, Softbank Korea Ventures and HTC VIVE X.

According to public information, ObEN was founded in 2014 to create a virtual voice, image and personality to create a user's artificial intelligence avatar, and to help users store, manage and operate their avatar in the emerging digital world. In other words, ObEN can use artificial intelligence tools to create avatars based on users' photos and sounds, giving users different AR and VR social experiences.

In the past, ObEN mainly helped gamers create avatars, and now the company is turning its focus to helping stars create avatars. Through this avatar, stars can interact with fans in real time. One day in the future, fans may also seek advice from the stars and get feedback. In addition, this avatar is not only very similar to the star, but also the way of speaking. In general, such an avatar is always better than a chat bot.

According to reports, ObEN also combines voice, computational vision and natural language processing technology for the first time, and developed the virtual sound, three-dimensional image and personalized technology required by the full-stack virtual star. Today, ObEN is building a new business platform. Here, celebrities and fans can interact directly on mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality, and smart devices, the Internet of Things and other platforms through personalized artificial intelligence. ObEN's personalized artificial intelligence products are expected to be released later this year.

The latest round of financing will be used to accelerate Oben's product development and help drive its star artificial intelligence copyright platform to a wide range of digital platforms. For this cooperation, Yao Leiwen, executive director of Tencent Investment, said that ObEN will bring new entertainment methods and content driven by star artificial intelligence.

Earlier, ObEN had said to be "everyone's artificial intelligence social platform." In this regard, the company has made several layouts.

At the HTC Vive Ecosphere Conference in March this year, ObEN announced a partnership with HTC Vive to develop a WeChat applet that allows users to play VR and VR "K songs". In this process, VR users can send invitations to friends; friends who receive invitations can upload self-timer and audio, and finally use the built-in image to walk along the beach with the inviter or visit the attraction.

At the end of April, ObEN launched a WeChat chat service video that integrates the VR social experience. Of course, users need to wear the HTC Vive headset. In the short film, the user needs to take a self-timer, upload it to WeChat to create an avatar, and then bring HTC Vive, you can receive the information sent by WeChat friends, and can directly reply with voice. In the future, WeChat with VR and AR functions may be able to harvest a large number of Asian users.

At the end of June, ObEN announced the establishment of a joint venture company, AI Stars, with SM Entertainment Korea. It is reported that ObEN wants to use artificial intelligence technology to make AI virtual images for the famous artists of SM Entertainment, and Magic Star Co., Ltd. is the brokerage company that manages these "AI stars".

This time, Tencent led the investment in ObEN, whether it can further promote the artificial intelligence of the company's social business. Today, companies are not only busy building artificial intelligence labs, but companies like Facebook have set up more like Facebook AR labs. In addition, it is said that Apple will soon launch the ARKit platform. In the future, will Tencent still set up a separate AR lab to further develop the social AI business?