As the power of traditional celebrity endorsement declines, influencer marketing in China has come to the fore. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to influencer marketing in China and brands must choose an appropriate endorsement strategy that considers brand positioning, ideals, and goals. Influencer marketing in China can deliver the same reach as TV, allowing brands to access ‘hard to get’ demographics and increase the engagement levels of their campaigns.


An influencer, or key opinion leader (KOL), is an individual who has above-average reach or impact through word-of-mouth or social media reach. Influencers are often highly knowledgeable about a specific subject, such as food, fashion, beauty or technology.

This report focuses exclusively on influencers and the influencer market in China.

Key Insights

1. Influencer marketing in China is ahead of the West by 3 to 5 years

The advanced functionality and integration of social media, e-commerce, and digital payment in China has enabled business models yet to be explored in other countries. As a result, China’s influencers are more advanced than their Western counterparts. With the support of influencer incubators, they build products specifically for their followers to buy through social platforms. Some Chinese influencers are launching their own creative studios, directly competing with ad agencies. Chinese social media platforms are starting to monetize the success of influencer marketing by charging brands to run a sponsored influencer post.