Zhang Lu, founder and CEO of Soul App believes that the code for social networking is changing and the metaverse is the next generation. She is the developer of one of Gen Z’s favorite social networking apps, Soul App and the one who put forward the concept of Soul metaverse.
In March 2021, Zhang Lu decided that the strategic objective of Soul App in the next phase is to bring the social metaverse into reality and provide the younger generation with a virtual playground for socializing. The rapid growth of Soul App users proves that she has made a right decision.
In a recent interview, Zhang Lu elucidated her idea of Soul metaverse and shared her vision of how the metaverse will become one of the major driving forces of the economy in the next decade.
Soul App represents a new kind of social networking.
This app was first brought to the market in 2016 when Zhang Lu found that the market was dominated by social apps targeting maintaining existing social circles. The problem was that there was no space left for individuals to express their authentic thought and foster new social connections. Zhang Lu’s original aspiration was rather simple, which was to extend a stress-free social experience in modern life and foster authentic social connections.
Zhang Lu can always perceive the pain points of modern social life and touch the real needs of the whole generation. She, together with her team, developed a new kind of social networking mode. This mode relies on an AI recommendation algorithm to establish the tie between two users. What’s more, users are portrayed based on their interest graph and virtual avatars instead of social stands or appearances in reality. This ground-breaking social mode soon captured the heart of the younger generation.
This new kind of social networking is the prototype of Soul metaverse. The social metaverse brought up by Soul App inherited its unique features like AI-recommendation and interest-graph techniques. It has also updated features and introduced a series of new ones. Just recently, Zhang Lu and her team launched its self-developed 3D rendering engine, the NAWA engine. The new engine is a major advancement from previous 2D avatars, expected to foster a more immersive experience.
Soul metaverse is young but it is creating value.
It is not long before the notion of metaverse was officially brought to the public. But our society has already witnessed how it exerted influences on aspects of life, entertainment, and gaming. Earlier this year, the global digital market was swept by the hype of NFT virtual products. Meanwhile, various forms of the digital economy are booming in the Soul metaverse.
Soul metaverse has cultivated a prosperous economic ecology and this platform is bringing opportunity for every participant, including businesses and individuals. Soul App has cooperated with companies and customized marketing campaigns like launching virtual products. Individual participants can realize their life value in this virtual space as well.
Soul App is also developing its own brand. It has just released its first official digital collection, the Möbius avatar series. These virtual products are a combination of modern and high technology, endowed with Zhang Lu’s vision of how the social metaverse connects individual participants. These avatars are decorated with tokens like lightning and headsets, showing the personality of their owners. This collection is highly praised by collectors for its aesthetic fascination.
The opportunity is always in the next generation.
Now Gen Z, who are known as digital natives, is taking over the economy in the subsequent decade. Born and growing up in the digital age, their social behaviors are heavily influenced by the Internet and they are more accustomed to accepting changes brought by technological innovations compared to previous generations.
Zhang Lu believes that for social networking platforms, a high retention rate is maintained on the premises of gaining recognition from the Gen Z group and brand recognition is built on the basis of understanding. Social networking platforms must listen to the real voices of their users to address their underlying demands.
It is now obvious that her efforts get paid. According to the latest news, Soul App official filed its prospectus to Hong Kong Stock Exchange earlier this year, ready to go public. It is revealed in the prospectus that Soul App now has more than 31.6 million MAU users, and Gen Z accounts for approximately 74.9% of them. They naturally gravitate to this platform and they are injecting fresh blood into Soul metaverse. It is estimated that 59.4% of MAU users are highly active for at least 15 days each month, contributing to the exuberant user ecology.
Human society is ushering in the dawn of the metaverse and we are about to welcome a different world in the subsequent decades. It is an opportunity for business big and small but it also put forward challenges. Soul App set a good model on how to convert challenges to chances and carve out a new perspective of the social metaverse. As is pointed out by Zhang Lu, to seize the opportunities in the metaverse is to capture the next generation. It is now time for companies to act.