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Companies are hiring virtual employees for $14k a year in China

Callum Jones

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| Last updated 

Companies are hiring virtual employees for $14k a year in China

Featured Image Credit: Samsung/Nvidia

Advancement in technologies in recent years has led to things such as virtual employees becoming a reality.

Techniques such as CGI in films have been around for a while, but actual virtual people who are able to do things a normal human can do seemed farfetched only a matter of years ago - but these days, they are becoming more of a reality.

So what exactly are virtual people?

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Well, they are a combination of animation, sound tech and machine learning that end up creating digitalised human beings who can even sing and interact with people on a livestream.

While they have popped up in the US and parts of Europe, they've been extremely popular and more common in China's cyberspace.

One of the company's that is getting involved is Chinese tech giant Baidu, who have been involved in these so-called virtual projects for a few years now.

Baidu is one of the leading players in the virtual people industry in China. Credit: Lou-Foto / Alamy Stock Photo
Baidu is one of the leading players in the virtual people industry in China. Credit: Lou-Foto / Alamy Stock Photo
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The tech company has said that the number of virtual people projects it has worked on for its clients has doubled since 2021.

And the prices of these virtual employees range from $2,800 (£2,300) to $14,000 (£11,600) a year in China.

Obviously, this doesn't come cheap, so who exactly are the buyers of these virtual people?

Li Shiyan, who heads Baidu's virtual people and robotics business, told CNBC that the most common people to use the virtual people are financial services companies, local tourism boards and state media.

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While the cost of these virtual people may sound expensive to many, Shiyan revealed that it has gone down massively in the last year as a result of tech improving.

Since the start of 2022, the costs dropped 80 percent to the £14,300 (£11,600) a year for a three-dimensional virtual person, and $2,800 (£2,300) for the two-dimensional one.

We've come a long way even since the days of Virtual reality. Credit: Mirko Vitali / Alamy Stock Photo
We've come a long way even since the days of Virtual reality. Credit: Mirko Vitali / Alamy Stock Photo

And the growth of these virtual people doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon, either.

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By the end of 2025, Shiyan told CNBC that he thinks the industry will keep impressively growing by 50 percent annually until 2025.

It seems as though China is driving the innovation and continued growth around virtual people around the world.

Back in August 2022, Beijing City announced ambitious plans to build a municipal virtual people industry, one that they hope will be worth £6 billion 2025.

Alongside Baidu, many of China's other tech companies have already been developing products in the virtual people industry.

Topics: Technology, China

Callum Jones
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