Erick Guo left Asia’s largest Internet company last year to build a team of artists and engineers who could create smartphone applications inspired by Japanese comics. The 25-year-old and his team ended up with China’s hottest app last month and are working on the next hit.
The free app, called MYOTee, lets people design avatars, or digital images, of themselves and friends that can be used for instant messaging or on social networks. It soared to the top of the Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Android app stores in China in June, with the software downloaded 36 million times.
MYOTee, known in Chinese as Lianmeng, lets people customize cartoon images by choosing facial features, hair color and accessories like hats or sunglasses. What’s helped it gain momentum is that the avatars can be used across social media, such as Tencent’s WeChat messaging service which has about 400 million users.
The avatars, with designs similar to Japanese manga comics, can bring a more intimate, playful feel to messaging over smartphones or other devices.