Influencer Marketing in China

What You Need to Know About KOLs, Wanghongs and the Platforms They Use

About This Report
Influencer marketing operates differently in China than in other markets, mainly due to its unique social platforms. For one, influencers are known as key opinion leaders (KOLs), and an ecosystem of incubators and handlers can help turn an ordinary person into a KOL.
Table of Contents

Marketers need to consider the uniqueness of China’s social platforms when planning an influencer marketing campaign. Those entering this market should know the top digital platforms for influencer marketing and how they operate, how different generations use social media and how they engage with influencers.

  • WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Xiaohongshu, Meipai, Tmall and Taobao are some of the leading platforms to consider for influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Influencers such as A-list celebrities may be better at driving brand awareness, while key opinion leaders (KOLs), online celebrities and other microinfluencers engage consumers in a deeper way.
  • One study showed that 68% of consumers in China say their shopping choices are influenced by social media.
  • Product recommendations from influencers have the most impact on millennials and Gen Z in China.
  • Luxury consumers in China look to influencers when making purchase decisions.
  • While regulations on disclosure of brand sponsorships on social media do not exist, marketers should be mindful of censorship rules imposed by the government that restrict types of content.

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Table of Contents

  1. The Influencer Economy in China
  2. Influencers Help Cut Through the Clutter
  3. A Complex Industry that Is Rapidly Evolving and Professionalizing
  4. What Are the Most Popular Platforms?
  5. Live Streaming as the New Way to Shop
  1. Influencing Millennials and Gen Z
  2. Luxury and KOL Collaborations
  3. Regulations that Affect KOL Marketing
  4. Key Takeaways
  5. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Lauren Hallanan
China Influencer Marketing Podcast
Consultant, Podcast Host and Writer
Interviewed June 1, 2018
Humphrey Ho
Managing Director
Interviewed May 29, 2018
Anita Leonelli
Interviewed June 13, 2018
Mark Tanner
China Skinny
Founder and Managing Director
Interviewed May 29, 2018
Maggie Wang
Senior Vice President, Social and Insight Analytics
Interviewed June 19, 2018
Elijah Whaley
Interviewed June 7, 2018
Elaine Wong
Double V. Consulting
Interviewed June 19, 2018


Man-Chung Cheung


Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jennifer Jhun
Research Director, International and Special Projects
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