The Rise of AI Clones in China’s Influencer Market

China’s livestreaming scene is undergoing a transformation. Influencers are now using AI digital clones to keep up with the relentless content demand. A striking example is Taiwanese influencer Chen Yiru, who streamed for 15 hours with the help of an AI avatar. This incident sparked debate among his followers and attracted commentary from legal experts. Dong Yuanyuan from Beijing’s Tiantai law firm stated, “Virtual live broadcasts do not exempt celebrities from legal responsibilities.”

The Appeal of AI Avatars

These AI avatars are an answer to the high demand for content. They allow influencers to be omnipresent online without the physical toll. Despite their convenience, they bring about concerns regarding authenticity and the potential for misleading viewers. 

The Business Behind the Avatars

Livestreaming has become a key sales channel in China. With over a million people employed in this sector and a follower base in the hundreds of millions, it’s no small operation. AI avatars can work non-stop, making them an attractive option for content production, especially for those aiming to maximize earnings.

Tech Firms Take the Lead

Companies like Silicon Intelligence are now able to create virtual clones swiftly and affordably. “For as little as 8,000 yuan, we can generate a basic AI clone,” says Sima Huapeng, CEO of Silicon Intelligence. This technology could disrupt the current job market for livestreamers, with AI potentially replacing human hosts.


AI Interactivity and Realism

Advancements in AI enable these clones to interact with viewers in real-time, enhancing the shopping experience. “Our technology ensures the AI’s gestures correspond with what it’s saying,” Huang Wei from Xiaoice elaborates.

New regulations are being considered to address the use of AI in media. These would require consent for the use of one’s likeness and clarify how AI-generated content should be disclosed to the public.

Looking at the Numbers

With livestreamers in China set to generate significant sales figures, the economic motives behind adopting AI clones are clear. However, the human cost remains a subject of concern. Human streamers face a new reality where their digital counterparts can do the same job without rest.

The integration of AI clones into livestreaming is reshaping the industry. While this move offers economic advantages and meets the demand for constant content, it also prompts serious discussions about the role of authenticity and transparency in the digital era. Only time will tell how this balance will play out.