International fashion brands often use celebrities and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to engage their Chinese customers and boost sales. KOLs have a significant impact on China’s digital landscape, as they have a large and loyal following on social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin (TikTok), and can influence consumer behavior and purchasing decisions.
KOLs in China specialize in specific industries or niches, such as fashion, beauty, or gaming, and are highly sought after by brands looking to tap into their audiences. With China’s massive online population and growing middle class, KOLs have become an essential part of many marketing strategies in the country. This is why, in this article, we introduce the most popular fashion influencers in China.
What is the importance of KOLs in China?
In China, KOL campaigns are an indispensable tactic for marketers to build their image, get the trust of Chinese consumers, and of course work on brand awareness.
China has become one of the most influencer marketing-friendly countries, allowing the top KOLs of China to create their own media channels. Today we will take a closer look at those who promote fashion for Chinese consumers while playing a big part in the industry by being, frequent fashion addicts.
KOL (Key Opinion Leader) marketing, sometimes called influencer marketing, is an indirect type of marketing that aims to promote brands, products, or services via advice or reviews. In 2018, China has become one of the most KOL Marketing friendly countries, allowing the top KOL of China to create their own media channels. In 2023, this trend has tripled.
Not only Weibo and WeChat influencers will have much work to do, but influencers from mobile apps such as Douyin (Chinese Tiktok), Weitao (Blogging site of Taobao), Red (Xiaohongshu), Bilibili, who may not have Weibo or WeChat account will be involved greatly in promotional campaigns of the brands.
Here are 10 top influencers in the world of Fashion in China
Thomas alias Ye Gogoboi is the largest Chinese fashion blogger and has considerable influence on the Chinese people, with his 9.76 million followers on Weibo. He was first a fashion editor at Grazia China, where he became famous for his Simon Cowell-esque way to comment on fashion.
He really turned a corner in 2010 when he made fun of the comedian Guo Degang for his love of wearing Givenchy. Since then, he attracted media attention and they would do anything for him to entertain the public.
Major brands love him and pay him large sums of money to publish news and reviews about celebrities and new collections.
2. Becky Li
As a top key opinion leader (KOL) with 20 million followers on social media, Becky Li’s income is closely tied to the sales she can generate. She is considered a highly influential figure in China, and she says that her impact can be directly measured.
Her followers call her the “BuyBuyBuy” Goddess because her posts on fashion and luxury items have always been successful in triggering the impulse to buy. That quality has also been much valued by a wide range of brands including Rebecca Minkoff, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, and the automaker MINI.
3. Leaf Greener
Leaf Greener is a fashion consultant, stylist, and blogger based in China. She is known for her unique and eclectic sense of style, and her work has been featured in numerous fashion publications. Greener was one of the first Chinese creatives to recognize the potential for exporting Chinese style abroad, and she’s been a regular at global luxury shows and events since the early 2010s.
Leaf Greener was listed by The Business of Fashion as one of the people shaping the fashion industry back in 2013 and today she has accumulated over 352k loyal followers on Instagram. She served as the Senior Fashion Editor for Elle China between 2008 and 2014 and has collaborated with a number of the industry’s leading figures like Karl Lagerfeld, David Burton, and Tommy Ton.
4. Mr. Bags
Tao Liang is known by more than 7 million followers on China’s most popular social networks like WeChat, Weibo, and Instagram, under the name of “Mr.Bags”, he is the master of style advice on high-end accessories coveted by the Chinese. He shares articles and photos with suggestions for the “perfect bag”.
He has the Chinese bag game on lock. His influence has led to collaborations with big names such as Givenchy, Burberry, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Chloé.
His followers call him the Chinese ‘God of Shopping’ due to his impressive sales record. He sold 300 Tod bags in just one hour, which further cemented his reputation. Recently, he collaborated with Givenchy to launch limited-edition Mini Horizon bags for Valentine’s Day. These bags were highly sought after, with 80 of them selling out in just 12 minutes.
Dipsy, whose Chinese name is Di Xi, is from Chongqing in southwest China. His number of followers is near to reaching 8 million followers on Weibo. His content focuses mainly on luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Jo Malone London, Thom Browne, etc. but his writing style is comparatively more approachable and uses a friendly and mysterious tone.
In 2016, Dipsy was awarded as having “Best Fashion Commentary” by We-Media.
Here we can see some post examples from fashion influencer, Dipsy, featuring Dior on the left and Thom Browne on the left. He was once a graphic designer and was chosen to appear in Chanel’s promotional video on Valentine’s Day in 2018, which led him down the path to becoming a fashion and beauty influencer/KOL.
One of the reasons he can be one of the top influencers in China is that he is an absolute perfectionist. He pays a huge amount of attention to small details such as the layout, order, color/tone, etc. of every single one of his posts to make sure that the post is completely flawless before publishing.
6. Masha Ma
Masha Ma is a Chinese fashion designer who founded her eponymous brand in 2008. She is known for her avant-garde designs that blend traditional Chinese elements with modern Western aesthetics.
Ma graduated from Central Saint Martins in London and has since shown her collections at various fashion weeks around the world, including Paris Fashion Week. Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Fan Bingbing.
In addition to her fashion work, Ma has also collaborated with brands such as Swarovski and Lane Crawford on special projects.
Angela Yeung Wing, better known by her stage name Angelababy, is a Chinese actress, model, and singer. She was born on February 28, 1989, in Shanghai, China, but grew up in Hong Kong. Angelababy started her career as a model when she was only 14 years old and later transitioned into acting.
She has starred in several popular Chinese films and TV dramas, including “Love You You” and “General and I”.
Angelababy is also known for her fashion sense and has been featured on the cover of numerous fashion magazines. In addition to her successful career in entertainment, she is also a successful businesswoman and has her own fashion line.
She becomes the first Female Chinese star to have more than 10 million followers on Instagram and she has more than 1 million followers on Weibo.
8. Chiara Ferragni
Chiara Ferragni is a popular Italian fashion influencer, blogger, and entrepreneur who has gained a significant following in China as well. She is known for her fashion and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Salad, which has become a global brand with millions of followers on social media.
Chiara Ferragni has collaborated with several Chinese brands like Shiseido and has been featured in Chinese fashion magazines. She has also been invited to attend major fashion events in China, such as Beijing Fashion Week and Shanghai Fashion Week.
Her popularity in China has made her a significant influencer in the Chinese fashion industry.
9. Susie Bubble
Susie Bubble, whose real name is Susanna Lau, is a British fashion blogger and journalist who is known for her unique and eclectic sense of style. She has been a prominent figure in the fashion industry for over a decade and has gained a significant following for her blog, Style Bubble.
In recent years, Susie Bubble has been actively involved in the fashion scene in China. She has attended major fashion events such as Shanghai Fashion Week and has collaborated with Chinese fashion brands and designers. But she also collaborated with Western fashion brands like Gucci, Coach, Nike, Uniqlo, and many more.
She has also written extensively about Chinese fashion and culture, highlighting the country’s emerging designers and unique fashion trends.
Susie Bubble’s influence in China has grown significantly, and she is now considered a major fashion influencer in the country. Her unique perspective and creative approach to fashion have made her a popular figure among Chinese fashion enthusiasts and industry insiders alike.
Bryanboy is a popular fashion blogger and social media personality from the Philippines. He started his blog, bryanboy.com, in 2004 and quickly gained a following for his unique style and witty commentary on the fashion industry.
He has since become a well-known figure in the fashion world, attending fashion shows and events around the world and collaborating with major brands like Marc Jacobs, H&M, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Swarovski.
Bryanboy is also active on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, where he has a large following.
How to promote your fashion brand with KOLs marketing in China?
Creating a community through social media
“Community Management” is very important for KOLs to develop trust among their fans. Chinese beauty KOLs put immense effort into creating a “community” atmosphere, with some going further to actually meeting their followers in person.
Another method is holding raffles, competitions, and contests to reward members of their community. Raffle contests are one of the most popular ways that KOLs can use to attract attention from their fans.
Work on your e-reputation
Social media has greatly influenced the consumption habits of Chinese people. They prefer to seek information, ask questions, and consult opinion leaders on platforms like Zhihu or Baidu before making any decisions.
Traditional 30-second advertisements are no longer effective in China, as young consumers want to gain a deeper understanding of a product in a shorter amount of time. KOLs are particularly effective in providing detailed long-form informational content that helps potential customers better understand a product.
The majority of the income earned by KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) comes from advertisements. Fashion KOLs use various methods to promote products, including makeup tutorials, product recommendations, and professional evaluations, while disguising them as professional knowledge.
Through positive reviews, emotional appeals, and visual effects, Chinese women are influenced to make purchases in pursuit of beauty.
We Can Help You Reach Out to Fashion Influencers in China!
In conclusion, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) have become a significant part of the marketing landscape in China. With the rise of social media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin, KOLs have become an effective way for brands to reach consumers and build brand awareness.
KOLs have a strong influence on their followers, and their endorsement can have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation and sales. As a result, many brands in China are investing heavily in KOL marketing, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
However, it’s important for brands to carefully choose the right KOLs to work with and to ensure that their marketing campaigns are transparent and authentic to avoid any negative backlash.
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