Alibaba Unveils 'Virtual Influencer' Dong Dong for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

AI-powered Dong Dong ‘Virtual Influencer’ makes her debut to engage with Olympic fans during live streaming.

BEIJING, Feb. 9, 2022 – The Alibaba Group, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Worldwide TOP Partner, has introduced its brand-new virtual influencer for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. (“Games”). Dong Dong, Alibaba’s advanced digital persona built to communicate with fans, uses cloud technology to bring the possibilities of cloud-based innovation closer to consumers.

Dong Dong, a passionate, outspoken Beijing-born 22-year-old lady who enjoys winter sports, was created by Alibaba DAMO Academy, Alibaba Group’s global research program. Dong Dong is noted for her authentic human-like features, bright attitude, and ability to communicate with audiences in an engaging manner to better connect with Olympic fans, especially the younger, tech-savvy generation.

Dong Dong will use her many talents to not only promote Olympic merchandise available in China’s official Olympic shop on Tmall during her dedicated live streaming shows, but she will also be able to respond to questions in a lively, natural human voice with various emotions, as well as various body gestures ranging from giving a thumbs-up to posting a heart-shape gesture and wiping away tears of disappointment. She can also do live chat programs to introduce Olympic trivia to the audience and show off her energetic, upbeat dancing moves to complement Olympic theme music to cheer on the Olympians. Cloud-based digital technologies enable all of these fascinating interactions.

“Our ambition is to use cloud technology to give the Olympic Winter Games a digital uplift and to deliver Olympic Winter Games experiences relating to cloud and e-commerce platform services to fans in a creative way. That’s why we developed Dong Dong, with the hope that the cloud-based virtual influencer can create better engagement with the younger, digital natives in an exciting and natural way,”

said Xiaolong Li, Leader of Alibaba Virtual Human & Intelligent Customer Service

Alibaba created a proprietary cloud-based AI model that employs Text to Speech to synthesize human voices and 3D-driven technology to create numerous realistic facial emotions and natural body movements in order to achieve Dong Dong’s dynamic personality, human-like glamour, and natural voice. Dong Dong can look, speak, and act like a young woman with a vibrant personality thanks to cloud computing and AI technologies. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s multimodal algorithms, which use cloud-based Natural Language Processing (NLP), Emotional Speech Synthesis, and computer vision, have been used to make Dong Dong “smart” enough to naturally participate in human-like dialogues, with her scripts entirely generated by cloud technologies.

“In the future, we will push technology boundaries even further to create an enthralling mixed reality. Digital personas or virtual influencers will find new ways to engage with their audience through immersive experiences or a metaverse-style setting, whether during large-scale, global sports events like the Olympic Games, virtual conferences, or 3D exhibition tours. In addition, they can also be very helpful with their practical capability as diligent, smart, and efficient assistants to the reporters,” Li added. 

Other creative technologies designed to support engagement with Olympic fans have also been unveiled during Beijing 2022:

Cloud Showcasing

Beijing 2022 Cloud Showcasing, a virtual exhibition developed by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 (BOCOG) and supported by Alibaba’s digital technologies, debuted to introduce Olympic Partners and for Olympic fans to win souvenirs through gamification and lucky draws. Alibaba also unveiled its own Cloud Showcasing, a virtual 3D exhibition that highlights Alibaba’s journey as a worldwide Olympic partner, through its cloud technologies underpinning the digital transformation of the Olympic Games, and innovative e-commerce platforms featuring official Olympic merchandise, leveraging Alibaba DAMO Academy’s cloud knowledge.

Cloud Official Olympic Store on Tmall

Starting with the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Winter Games, Alibaba’s e-commerce portal Tmall has exhibited Beijing 2022 items in more than 7,000 businesses around China using Alibaba’s cloud-shelf technology. Customers may design their own Olympic-themed stuff, such as T-shirts and bags, at store kiosks and have them delivered to their homes within a few days.

“Through our series of digital technologies, we want to bring to sports fans a unique experience – as interactive, engaging, and personalized as possible – so they can join in the excitement for Beijing 2022,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer at Alibaba Group. “As we continue to innovate and create new formats of engagement, we hope to apply these technologies to other global sports games or events in the future, so consumers across the globe can benefit from these cloud-based innovations.”

SOURCE Alibaba Group

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