Building an influencer strategy in China: Behind the US$8 billion industry

Low Lai Chow

China's online influencer market may be worth an estimated US$8 billion this year, but marketers are only starting to skim the surface of it.

"Brands don't get it properly," said VS Media CEO, Ivy Wong, of the growing phenomenon.

"Once brands do, I think the market will be much bigger."

And it's in the interests of marketers to move quickly: Wong predicted China's online influencers (known as Wang Hong in China) will be worth US$12 billion next year.

Naysayers may think of the online influencer market as the latest flash in the pan, but Maggie Zhou, who oversees development and investment in her role as China Media Capital (CMC) Holdings co-president, said the industry in China is anything but that.

Zhou pointed out that the Wang Hong (Mandarin for 'Internet famous') phenomenon has long existed for more than a decade. Brands can reap huge benefits from the largely untapped influencer market.