What is BIGO Technology and Bigo Live?
BIGO Technology, or BIGO in short, was founded in Singapore in 2014. As a young tech start-up from Singapore, we have been fortunate to be able to grow into a global company within a short span of time. BIGO specialises in interactive digital content platforms using artificial intelligence, and is the company behind well-known applications such as Bigo Live, imo and Likee.
Bigo Live was the very first app developed by BIGO. Launched in March 2016, Bigo Live was able to achieve great success from the start. It is a livestreaming app that allows people to interact in real-time with their friends and loved ones as well as showcase their talent to a global audience and form communities of shared interest. Within a month, the app was able to earn the number one spot in the iOS Free Downloads ranking in Thailand. We concentrated on expanding our reach, and entered the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets in 2017. To date, we have over 400 million users around the world, with about 5 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) from the MENA region alone.
What has BIGO done for Jordan and countries across the Middle East?
The successful implementation of technology is always dependent on the human impact and contribution. Our objective is to find some of the best talents in the MENA region that can use current and emerging technologies to help improve their lives, the companies they work for, their communities, and countries.
We see Jordan as an excellent regional hub for talent in technology, and particularly in emerging technology areas such as Artificial Intelligence. During the pandemic lockdown, BIGO has remained committed to strengthening its workforce by onboarding more than 40 new employees, and tripling our office space in Amman. We aim to increase our workforce to 200 by the end of 2020.
Utilising the reach and content capabilities of our Bigo Live app, we are also working with the local governments in the region, such as in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to encourage people to stay positive, and to support the efforts of local governments and organizations that are working to keep us safe.
In May 2020, Bigo Live hosted the ‘Global BIGOer One World Together’ - a fundraising campaign that featured a 24-hour live concert that featured performances by almost 100 broadcasters from over 20 countries, bringing in over 3.7 million viewers from around the world. More than USD 100,000 was raised during the 24-hour campaign, and donated to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The voluntary participation and donations to the fight against COVID-19 is testament to the strong bond and commitment Bigo Live users have for one another within this community. Shared experiences are made more personal and engaging when compared to traditional social media platforms, which are more static in nature. Users have the opportunity and ability to support causes that they can relate to in a manner that can create and sustain a positive environment for those in need of encouragement and support, and share life-changing moments.
Bigo Live uses Artificial Intelligence. Can you please explain how this technology is being used within the app?
Our Artificial Intelligence (AI) system is predominantly used for creating special effects in-app and ensuring the safety of content. Bigo Live uses AI to review real-time the content generated by users as the volume is too large for human moderators to monitor accurately and manually. The system is equipped to take immediate action on content that contravenes our user guidelines and community policies. The system is supplemented by a strong team of human moderators around the world to review content flagged out by the system.
How will establishing an office in Jordan help BIGO achieve more success?
BIGO is one of the most successful stories of a Singaporean internet company that was able to achieve highspeed growth in the region over the past three years. One of the biggest factors for this success is due to our localized operations. We are one of the few major internet companies that have hundreds of employees across the region.
Having localized operations helps us better understand culture, users and regulations. We understand that what works in other countries may not work in countries across the MENA region due to the diverse culture.
What are some of the opportunities that Jordanian people can look forward to with Bigo Live?
One of the biggest opportunities is the social value Bigo Live creates for employees, users and society at large. COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of lives and made people feel a bit apprehensive about the future. There are people who are also reluctant to go out to seek the support and guidance they need. Bigo Live empowers people to connect with each other in real-time for support and advice. It gives them the opportunity to build meaningful connections and friendships that they would otherwise find it difficult to have due to social distancing and various other precautions in place. We see our platform as a solution for these individuals, especially at a time when they need it the most.
Secondly, livestreaming is the future of media. We believe that if people are able to build positive and meaningful connections with each other, they can create online communities of like-minded individuals and together achieve more. Ideally, we would like our users to leverage our platforms to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and expertise in areas that are positive and motivating. This will not only bring joy and happiness to themselves but also showcase the local cultures to a global audience, and enable broadcasters to tap into the full potential of digital economy that has emerged out of the social distancing period to better empower themselves than ever before.