Male virtual influencer created by Sogang students see success

Theo, a virtual human, takes a photo with his friends. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

A male virtual human created by a startup company in Korea is receiving attention from overseas.

Theo, a 21-year-old virtual human, was created by VHP, a start-up founded by five students at Sogang University, last October.

According to Theo’s social media, he is “half Korean and half Brazil living in Seoul,” who speaks Korean, Portuguese and English.

His Instagram page currently has more than 10,000 followers and his TikTok account is even more popular, with over 21,000 followers.

Theo shares on his TikTok account watching Single's Inferno on Netflix. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Theo shares on his TikTok account watching Single’s Inferno on Netflix. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Theo shares his daily life just like other people in their 20s in Korea, going out for dinner with his friends, watching “Single’s Inferno” on Netflix and taking selfies at popular tourist spots in Korea such as Cheonggye Stream and Gyeongbok Palace.

He is also a food reviewer based in Korea and Brazil, who connects the two cultures by sharing a variety of content.

Through his ability to speak three languages, he is attracting many international fans, particularly in Brazil, according to industry insiders on Wednesday.

Theo hangs out with his friend at a family restaurant. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Theo hangs out with his friend at a family restaurant. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Theo’s fame is seen as unusual for a male virtual influencer.

Woo Ju created by Cleon and Jilju by Vive Studios are also male virtual humans created by local companies, but they have not become as influential as initially expected.

Currently, Woo Ju has only 312 followers on Instagram.

The success of male virtual humans is seen as more difficult compared to female virtual influencers as the field of work for virtual influencers is mostly limited to beauty and fashion.

Theo’s rising popularity is due to foreigners showing interest in Korean male celebrities. In fact, comments on Theo’s social media posts were mostly from international fans.

Experts believe the virtual human market will continue to expand.

A total of 186 virtual humans were registered in the global market as of last October, according to Virtual Humans, an Atlanta-based virtual human information site.

In terms of market volume, the virtual influencer market is projected to grow up to $15 billion. Virtual influencers are expected to take up over 50 percent of influencer marketing by 2025, according to HypeAuditor, a US AI-driven analytics firm.

Theo poses at Chunggye stream. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Theo poses at Chunggye stream. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

BY HAN YOUNG-HYE, CHO JUNG-WOO [cho.jungwoo1@joongang.co.kr]

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