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Porsche Ventures invests in iMaker

  • The next step in building a digital ecosystem
She looks like a human, but is completely computer generated: Ayayi, the virtual influencer introduced by iMaker and its partners.

A strategic investment that goes beyond the automotive industry: Porsche Ventures has invested in the technology company iMaker, China's leading provider of virtual influencers and digital ecosystems. The investment emphasises the sports car manufacturer's understanding of the new consumer culture and trends relevant to young Chinese customers, and its strategic objective of continuously investing in new application scenarios for digital content.

Porsche Ventures and iMaker have worked together since 2020. The partners are planning to build a new digital ecosystem that will extend and enhance customers' digital experience in Porsche vehicles. New digital features and technology for in-car applications are being developed with a particular focus on communicating and interacting with younger generations through digital content and virtual influencers. Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters and avatars designed using innovative animation software. They have realistic facial expressions and body movements, and are very similar to people. In Asia, virtual influencers are increasingly being used by the music industry, at live events, on social media platforms and in corporate communications.Jens Puttfarcken, President and CEO of Porsche China, says: "In its role as a traditional sports car manufacturer, Porsche has always been the driving force behind change and innovation. We want to remain at the forefront of the automotive industry as we move into the digital age. This investment by Porsche Ventures is an important step in implementing our digital strategy and the start of an extended partnership with iMaker."

The strategic investment in iMaker is another key step for Porsche to further expand its portfolio of digital products and services, and accelerate its digital transformation. In the future, Porsche will also cooperate with iMaker in the field of digital application scenarios and in-vehicle digital ecosystems, making vehicles an important part of consumers' digital life and entertainment, as well as creating a convenient and superior digital journey for customers through a seamless experience.

Xia Bing, founder of iMaker, says: “We hope to provide diverse digital content and technical support for every shining idea, and find the proper solutions to make it come true in the best possible way. iMaker will support Porsche with the implementation and creation of digital content relevant to the automotive industry." The technology company was founded in late 2019 and has cumulatively closed four rounds of funding with several investors in the past year.

Porsche Ventures is the venture capital unit of Porsche AG and has offices in Stuttgart, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Palo Alto and Shanghai. It invests in innovative technology and business models around the world. Porsche has been active on the start-up scene since 2016 and has built a diverse start-up ecosystem in order to work with new, innovative companies in various phases of development: In addition to Porsche Ventures, the Porsche ecosystem includes the technology and digital unit Porsche Digital, the company builder Forward 31 and the early-stage investor APX, a joint venture with Axel Springer SE. More information about this start-up ecosystem can be found in the Porsche Newsroom: https://newsroom.porsche.com/startups.

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