May 1, 2006 cover of BusinessWeek magazine featuring Anshe Chung
|Occupation||Virtual real estate broker|
|Known for||First 'virtual millionaire'|
Anshe Chung is an avatar (online personality) of Ailin Graef in the online world Second Life. Referred to as the Rockefeller of Second Life by a CNN journalist, Graef has built an online business that engages in development, brokerage, and arbitrage of virtual land, items, and currencies, and has been featured in a number of prominent magazines such as Business Week, Fortune and Red Herring.
According to Chung, she had already created fortunes in purely virtual currency on other MMORPGs such as Asheron's Call and Shadowbane, but had never converted that to real tender. This changed when she entered Second Life, where the in-game currency, "Linden Dollars" (L$), can be officially exchanged for real money.
In her early Second Life days, prior to founding the business that made her famous, Anshe Chung had a goal of using virtual wealth to support an orphaned boy in a developing country in the real world. With her first Linden dollars she was able to sponsor a boy named Geo from the Philippines through a German church organization. She raised funds through event hosting, escorting, teaching and fashion design.
According to Chung, in June 2004 she began selling and creating custom animations and then used this money to buy and develop virtual land. This is also considered the beginning of her business where, for the first time, she kept and reinvested funds instead of giving them away. Chung currently owns thousands of servers' worth of land, most of which are sold or rented to other users as a part of her 'Dreamland' areas. Within Dreamland various levels of zoning rules are enforced; most other land in Second Life is unzoned, with multiple different types of business or housing located in adjacent areas. Philip Rosedale, the former CEO of Linden Lab – the company that produces Second Life – has referred to Anshe as "the government" when referring to the role she plays managing her regions.
According to Dr. James Cook of Linden Lab, "Anshe adds significant value to Second Life".
In November 2006 Chung announced that she had "become the first online personality to achieve a net worth exceeding one million US dollars from profits entirely earned inside a virtual world".
Meanwhile, Anshe Chung's business employs more than 80 people full-time, most of them programmers and artists. She counts several Fortune 100 companies among her clients as well as high-profile organizations such as the government of Baden-Wuerttemberg and LifeChurch.tv, whose Second Life entry her firm developed.
In January 2007 Anshe Chung Studios received venture capital investment from the Samwer brothers, who purchased a stake in the Anshe Chung Studios. In September 2007 the Gladwyne Partners, who had previously funded the Electric Sheep Company, also obtained stake in the Anshe Chung Studios.
Since 2006 the company has been active in IMVU, a 3D avatar chat. She has since been operating the largest currency exchange and content creation business for that platform, with about half of the 100 top selling products in IMVU originating from her company in Wuhan, while a considerable amount of the remaining top sellers are said to be coming from people who were originally trained in her company. During Anshe Chung's involvement with IMVU, that service's userbase has increased 50-fold, outgrowing Second Life in late 2007.
New Champion of the World Economy
In 2007, the Anshe Chung Studios were chosen as a "New Champion of the World Economy" by the World Economic Forum, describing the company as a business with a major technical or economic impact and the potential to become a Fortune 500 company within the next 5 years.
From 2005 until January 2009, Anshe Chung also owned a 30% share in Virtuatrade, a Pennsylvania-based company operating the site XStreetSL.com, a virtual goods trading site similar to eBay but specializing in Second Life items. The company was eventually sold to Linden Lab. XStreetSL has now become an integral part of Second Life called the "Second Life Marketplace".
In July 2008, a new portal site called AnsheX  became available, operated by her company in Wuhan. The new site merges the services, communities and currency exchanges of several monetized virtual worlds, attempting to bridge the gaps between them.
According to several sources, including a title in the October 2009 issue of Avenue Magazine, Anshe Chung joined the founders of Skype as a key investor behind the 3D fashion games developer Frenzoo.
In 2012, the 3D Avatar School won both the Red Herring Asia 100 and Red Herring Global 100 awards, while Frenzoo landed a hit on Android and iOS with the world's first 3D dress-up game, Style Me Girl.
By early 2014, Anshe Chung Limited had acquired an investment portfolio with several additional Internet and technology startups including Sellfy, Beyond Games, Makibox, IMVUCE, and ArtsCraft Entertainment, developer of MMORPG game Crowfall.
Target of griefing
In December 2006, while conducting an interview for CNET with Daniel Terdiman on her economic assets, the virtual studio in which the interview took place was bombarded by flying animated penises. The griefers managed to disrupt the interview sufficiently that Chung was forced to move to another location and ultimately crashed the simulator entirely. Video and images of the incident were posted on the website Something Awful, and the incident received notice in some blogs and online news sites.
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- Virtual goods, real income Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
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- "Linden Lab Acquires Virtual E-Commerce Sites XStreetSL and OnRez: The Numbers, Strategy, and Controversy". New World Notes. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Sims from Anshe Chung for 6799 L$/week!". AnsheX. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Frenzoo - 3D Mobile Games For The World". Frenzoo - 3D Mobile Games For The World. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "AVENUE Magazine SLCC 2009". Issuu. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- 3DAvatarSchool.com[permanent dead link]
- "Jvwresearch.org". jvwresearch.org. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "2012 Top 100 Global Winners". Red Herring. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Play.google.com". google.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Create an online store for your digital products". sellfy.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Beyond Games". Beyond Games. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Makibox.com Archived February 7, 2014, at Archive.today
- "IMVUCE.com". Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Anshe Chung Portfolio". anshechung.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Crowfall - Throne War PC MMO by ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc". crowfall.com. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Angel.co". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- Hutcheon, Stephen (May 21, 2008). "Kremlin critic gets genital reminder about who's in charge". The Age. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Anshe Chung official website
- Anshe Chung eXchange (AnsheX)
- 3D Avatar School
- Me Girl games
- Makible 3D printers
- IMVUCE currency exchange
- BusinessWeek title story and magazine cover
- CNN: "Anshe Chung – First Virtual Millionaire"
- Second Life Safari – Room 101 v. Anshe Chung Something Awful's coverage of the griefing incident
- Reuters report on Anshe Chung
- Squat Magazine interview with Anshe Chung