The global craze for AI-generated yearbook pictures had one lesser-known Korean company ride high in terms of sales and reputation ahead of a possible listing.
The paid yearbook service is made available by Epik, a photo-editing app owned by Seongnam, Gyeonggi-based Snow. Naver, Korea's biggest portal, is the largest shareholder of Snow. It is a viral trend commonly seen on social media — using photo generator apps equipped with AI to make digitally altered portraits.
Ever since the yearbook design came out on Sept. 18, Epik has been placed first on the list for total app downloads on the App Store in 56 countries including the United States, Britain and Thailand, as of Oct. 10. It placed first in the photo and video category in 93 countries including Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
Epik generates 60 photos in the 90s American yearbook style out of eight to 12 photos uploaded by the user. While downloading the app is free, photo output requires payment. The standard offer generates photos in less than 24 hours for 5,500 won ($4), and under two hours for 8,800 won under the express offer. And people are opening their wallets. Epik has earned around seven million dollars in cumulative sales just on iOS, according to market research agency data.ai.
Snow released the “AI Avatar” in January and the “AI Profile” generator through its camera application “SNOW” in May this year, which creates ID-style portraits out of the user’s uploaded photos but made more “beautiful” as deemed by the generator’s algorithms. The number of service users surpassed 1.5 million within a month of its release. The “AI Baby” editor released in August churns out photos of a younger self, or of a virtual child with facial characteristics resembling those of the user.
Source: Korea Joongang Daily