SoftBank and HYBE bet on Zepeto to usher in the Asia-based metaverse
The Future. South Korean metaverse platform Zepeto has attracted major funding to hit a billion-dollar valuation. Zepeto’s female-focused popularity has turned it into a go-to destination for digital fashion. Given Asia’s adoption of social commerce as the most popular way for Gen-Z to shop, Zepeto may have a chance to become the virtual mall of the continent… with high-fashion pieces that the average consumer can actually afford.
Another day, another major metaverse investment.
- Zepeto (created by South Korea’s Naver Corp) received $150 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund and $41 million from K-pop management giant HYBE Co.
- That gives Zepeto a valuation of $1 billion.
- While it’s currently a hotspot for digital fashion, Zepeto plans to use the funding to further fine-tune its avatar-creation tech and expand into user-generated game development.
- It will also launch a creator fund to lure developers to the platform.
Zepeto allows users to upload a photo of themselves to create a life-like digital avatar, which can then communicate with other avatars via voice chat.
It has 2 million daily active users, mostly in China, Indonesia, Japan, the U.S., Brazil, and South Korea. It is believed to be Asia’s largest metaverse platform.
What makes Zepeto especially unique is that its user base is mostly women… a reverse of most major metaverse-like platforms throughout the rest of the world. 70% are female and between the ages of 13 and 24.
The demographic make-up has made Zepeto a popular platform for selling digital fashion. 1.5 billion items have sold so far on the platform, most for only a few dollars. One user out of Seoul reported that she makes $8,500 per month selling digital clothes on the platform.
And mainstream fashion brands and celebrities have taken notice. Gucci, Dior, and Ralph Lauren sell clothing on Zepeto, while Selena Gomez and Blackpink have sold merch and held meet-and-greets on there.