Wanted or not, we are shifting quickly away from face-to-face communication towards texting. In this new era where people speak with their fingers, emoji (表情 biaoqing in Chinese) are becoming an important part of our daily communications to convey emotions and feelings both for the spoken and the unspoken.

This new means of communication has become so common that it is almost impossible to find a purely textual conversation in chat groups. Overall 6 billion out of the 45 billion messages sent out in 2015 in the U.S. were digital expressions. The growing market fostered star projects like Giphy, which was valued at $600 million in the latest round of financing.

BiaoqingYun (literally “emoji cloud” in English) is China’s answer to Giphy. They bill themselves as a platform for personalized expression and communication online, enabling hundreds of millions of mobile users to communicate using fun and engaging media formats like animated GIFs, stickers, and emoji. The company just received an undisclosed amount of A Plus round in January this year.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.