Baidu’s Facemoji Keyboard is proud to present its first ever infographic “A Brief History of Emoji: From Hieroglyphs to Smartphones”.

The following infographic traces the evolution of modern emoji in broad strokes, looking as far back as Egyptian hieroglyphs and highlighting each pivotal step throughout history that led to today’s widespread use of emoji as a cross-cultural communication tool.

Key dates and data points from the infographic are as follows:

  • Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs are considered by some to be the precursors to modern emoji.
  • 1635 marked the first recorded use of (handwritten) emoji in a business context.
  • 1881 marked the first time that emoticons were printed in a public magazine.
  • 1982 was the first time that a digital emoticon was sent over a computer network.
  • 1991 was when the Unicode Consortium was founded, thereby helping to codify emoji usage worldwide.
  • Late 1990s, the first modern set of 176 emoji was developed in Japan, for use on a feature phone.
  • 2013 marked the addition of the word “emoji” to the Oxford English Dictionary.


Daily emoji usage by region:

China: 70% of users chat with emoji on a daily basis.

France: 60% of users chat with emoji on a daily basis.

USA: 50% of users chat with emoji on a daily basis.

Facemoji Keyboard History of Emoji