They sell out stocks worth of millions of dollars in minutes, they make newest products trendy and famous, they are the most-watched Chinese influencers and internet stars in China, they are the king and the queen of Chinese e-commerce!
E-commerce in China is booming. In 2021, it is expected to grow more than 20%, versus a 7% growth in total retail sales. For the first time in history, anywhere in the world, the proportion of a whole country’s retail sales will be more than 50% online. The mountain is huge, and who sits atop? Chinese influencers, aka KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders).
We’ve charted the top KOLs for 2021 elsewhere, but here we want to introduce a special kind of Chinese KOL. The kind that has the ability to sell out entire inventories in minutes.
Livestreaming has taken over KOL marketing in China. On popular shopping dates like Singles Day and 12.12, hundreds of millions of people log on to shopping platforms to receive the best discounts of the year. To guide them towards which products to buy, they often tune into livestreams by beauty and fashion bloggers and KOLs in each and every product category. For the top KOLs, the products they feature invariably sell out in minutes.
Below, we want to talk about Influencer Marketing in China, the top 10 KOLs in China and how influential they have been on the Chinese e-commerce market.
Top 1 Chinese Influencer & Livestream Sales KOL
Austin Li otherwise known as ‘The Lipstick King’ has some impressive accolades under his belt.
Q: How many followers does Austin have?
A: Austin has over 29 million followers on Weibo and over 44 million on Douyin
For anyone even vaguely familiar with KOL marketing, Austin should need no introduction. For newcomers, here are the basics: Austin is a Chinese beauty blogger specialising in lipstick. Various feats of his, such as earning a Guinness World Record for the most applications of lipstick in a minute, and trying on 138 lipsticks in a 30-minute live stream, have garnered him the title ‘Lipstick King’.
While he’s able to pull in $145 million in a day in sales, like Viya, he’s also socially conscious. In 2020, he worked to promote products from Wuhan following its difficult period, and helped raise RMB 70 million on Chinese New Year’s Eve in aid of rural farmers and communities.
During the 6.18 shopping festival in 2019 , he broke his own record once again, he sold 150,000 lip glosses in one hour livestream. He also managed to sell 5,000 Shiseido Ultimunes within 3 minutes and 40,000 Sori Yanagi cast iron pans within 1 minute.
But his reach does not stop in lipsticks. Austin was featured in major campaigns of KFC, Uniqlo, Clear, Dr.Jart+, Paris fashion week sponsored by L’Oreal, Godiva and many others.
Forbes China 2019 recognized him as one of the most influential in their list of “30 Under 30”. He was also awarded various awards including “Man at his best” award, Esquire awards and many more.
Today Austin dominates the Chinese social media by having verified accounts on Weibo, Douyin, Xiaohongshu/Red and Kuaishou. Engagement of his posts on Weibo reach from 5K to 1.5 million reactions!
To be able to cooperate with Austin via livestream sales event brands shall have a store on one of the Alibaba’s platforms: Tmall or Taobao.
Top 1 Female Chinese Influencer & Taobao Livestream KOL
Viya is another fierce Chinese influencer / KOL star in China. She is a global ambassador for a number of brands and commands the No.1 Anchor spot on Taobao.
Q: How many followers does Viya have?
A: Viya has over 17 million followers on Weibo, over 16 million on Douyin, over 1,5 million on Xiaohongshu, and over 12 million followers on Taobao’s Weitao.
Chinese influencers, despite stereotypes, are not vapid product-selling husks. Their rise to prominence is usually accompanied by a great deal of hard work, and often admirable achievements outside the world of selling. This is why they’re trusted by their followers.
Viya (薇娅) is an apex example of a Chinese influencer with substance and credibility. Her livestreams are a mix between variety shows, infomercials and casual chats with her viewers. In 2020 she sold $365 million in a single day, and drew more than 37 million simultaneous viewers.
But she also devotes her time meaningfully, becoming one of Alibaba’s 2019 Poverty Alleviation Campaign anchors, and frequently featuring products produced in poorer regions of China. She is also one of the ‘The Belt and Road Thailand Product Ambassador’.
The products she chooses to promote have been carefully selected by her. When selling any product, this Chinese influencer thinks of the following things:
- time limit
- quantity limit
- price limit
Wonder how much Viya charge per one livestream? Depending on the industry she charges from 40,000 to 200,000 RMB.
While doing her livestreams on Taobao, Viya, on average, creates a total transaction value of 66 million CNY / 10 million USD in one hour!
But to cooperate with Viya, brands shall be ready to go through an application and selection process and ready to provide up to 30% commission on sales she generates plus the production fees. Interested to get in touch with Viya? Email your request right now!
Fashion KOLs who Sell Products in Minutes
WeChat Chinese Influencer in Fashion: Becky Li
Record of selling 100 MINI cars on her WeChat official account within 4 minutes
Top fashion KOLs by Forbes China
Q: How many followers does Becky Li have?
A: She has over 7,6 million followers on Weibo, over 75 thousands on WeChat, and over 650 thousands on Douyin
When mentioning Becky, she is often described as “one of the most influential fashion bloggers” or a “shopaholic”. In fact, she was the chief reporter of the Southern Metropolis Daily, mainly reporting current affairs and movies, and was one of the best entertainment reporters in China before she managed the WeChat account “Becky’s Whimsical World” and became a fashion blogger, and of of the top Chinese influencers.
She was invited by Chanel to attend Paris Fashion Week, and has worked with Chinese A-listers such as Chen Yanxi for the promotion of the philanthropic projects organized by Louis Vuitton and UNICEF. She has cooperated twice with the Palace Museum on culture and jewelry projects, with a transaction volume exceeding 2 million RMB.
In 2017, Becky and MINI cooperated for the first time to exclusively sell the “MINI YOURS Caribbean Blue Limited Edition”. 100 custom cars sold out within 4 minutes. This achievement became a much-told story in the industry and was listed as a classic case by Harvard Business School. At the end of the same year, Becky launched her own clothing brand with the same name.
She has appeared in H&M advertisements, served as a mentor for Helena women’s entrepreneurial projects, became the first KOL partner of WeChat Pay, and acted as its overseas payment experience officer and a friend of the BALLY brand. Earlier last month, Forbes China released a list of China’s top KOLs, listing 50 Chinese key opinion leaders in five specific sectors, such as beauty, fashion, mother & baby, lifestyle, and e-sports. Becky was one of the leaders among them.
So, unlike other Chinese influencers fashion bloggers, and although Becky is a “shopping enthusiast”, people have the impression that she is real, sincere, and down to earth. Just like an everyday beautiful lady, she talks about all kinds of good things, and also builds an image of “I can also have it” from the perspective of an ordinary woman. Therefore, she draws a lot of attention from female customers.
She was “Miss Shopping Guide” in the newspaper office because she always had a good eye for unique and trendy shopping.
But, today, seven years has gone by since “Becky’s Whimsical World” was set up, a fashion WeChat Official Account that is now followed by nearly ten million women, with each of her posts generating over 100,000 views.
“A lot of people focus solely on the number of followers, but I would prefer to have 10 followers who really know an recognize me instead of 100 followers who disagree or do not engage with me.”
Is it possible to find a KOL that does not charge a crazy amount of money? YES! Here is the list of top 10 mid-tier KOLs!
WeChat Chinese Influencer in Fashion: Zola ZHANG
The WeChat Media channel “It was Zola” is undoubtedly one of the best WeChat channels that integrate KOL and WeChat e-commerce sales successfully.
Q: How many followers does Zola have
A: Zola has over 2,9 million followers on Douyin and over 200 000 on WeChat
On the other hand, Many individual products recommended in Zola’s WeChat articles come from her Taobao “Just Chilling” brands, which mainly focus on European and American niche brands. Zola and her employees use those brands, promote them and go one step forward; they determine the product’s price together with the supply chain after contacting the authorizing parties.
On the other hand, it is reported that “It was Zola” made annual sales of about 40 million RMB and monthly sales of 3 to 4 million RMB. The amount is not huge on Taobao, but for a We Media owner switching to e-commerce, it’s impressive.
However, unlike other Chinese influencers, Zola”s “It was Zola” channel does not specialize in a specific topic.
She provides a comprehensive guide to the fashion life circle from all aspects of life rather than being merely a beauty or fashion blogger. Now the number of her followers has reached 7 million on various social media, including 1.5 million for her WeChat official account, and 2.82 million for her Weibo. She has signed and incubated more than 40 bloggers, and the number of her network’s followers across 15 platforms has reached 75 million.
“On WeChat, we are one of the first of several WeChat advertising test accounts. In the WeChat Alternative Advertising case in cooperation with BiOil, we completed 417% of the KPI, reaching 62,700 ad exposures and 177,000 views. On Taobao, we have cooperated with EVE LOM, a niche skincare brand prices 50 – 100, in the CPS advertisement of Guang.taobao.com, in which we sold out 200 fortune bags in 19 seconds.”
Top Fast Sale Chinese KOLs in Kuaishou
Q: How many followers does Xin Youzhi have?
A: Xin Youzhi has over 1,3 million followers on Weibo and over 3,5 million followers on Douyin,and over 70 million on Kuaishou.
Xin Youzhi (辛有志辛巴), is a livestreaming entrepreneur, with over 70 million followers in Kuaishou. He streams less frequently than others, because he maintains a team of livestreamers that do so on his behalf. Still, when he does, he can generate more than $50million of sales in a single day. Unlike many other Chinese influencers, he does not specialise in one product category, but rather sells across many.
Q: How many followers does Sanda have?
A: Sanda has 2 million followers on Weibo and 50 million followers on Kuaishou.
With 50 million followers on Kuaishou, Sanda Brother (散打哥) is also known as ‘Fast Sale King’ in China. He’s garnered several awards for his livestreams, and broken records here, there and everywhere, proving the might of KOL marketing. In a single day in 2018, his sales totalled RMB 160 million.
Q: How many followers does Yu Childe have?
A: He has over 57 thousands followers on Weibo and over 23 million on Kuaishou.
Anchor of Kuaishou’s beauty products platform, Yu Childe (瑜大公子) is considered a pre-eminent beauty KOL and celebrity in his own right. On January 5 2021, he joined several other celebrities to livestream the ‘Stars Giving Back’ event, which was watched by more than 10.2 million people. As part of the broadcast, he set a record by selling RMB 368 million in a single broadcast, putting him in the top ranks of Chinese KOLs.
More KOLs from China who Sell Products Fast
Q: How many followers does Cherie have?
A: Cherie has over 12 million followers on Weibo, also she has about 1 million followers on Douyin and on Xiaohongshu.
After opening a Taobao store in 2011, Cherie (雪梨Cherie) has grown a following of more than 200 million fans for her livestreams, making her one of the most popular KOLs in China. Featuring more than 30 brands, in 2020, Cherie set a record for the highest number of transactions in a single live broadcast; in five hours, her sales exceeded RMB 300 million.
Q: How many followers does Dandan Kid have?
A: She has over 3 million followers on Douyin
A relatively new kid on the block, Dandan Kid is making waves on KOL platforms. In 2019, 30 livestreams generated a sales volume of RMB118 million. In March 2020, she racked up RMB 90 million of sales in one hour, with one broadcast exceeding RMB 300 million in sales.
Q: How many followers does Kiki have?
A: Kiki has over 4,8 million followers on Weibo and over 3 million on Douyin
Chinese influencer Kiki (陈洁) once sold RMB 177 million in three days. She made a name for herself in a cooperation with actor Lei Jiayin to promote Borward Auto. In two and a half hours, the duo pulled in more than 220 million orders, helping Borgward become the car manufacturer with the most live broadcast bookings in 2019.
Q: How many followers does LiEr Baby have?
A: She has over 3,5 million followers on Weibo and over 2 million on Douyin.
Another record-breaking Chinese influencer, on Singles Day 2017, LieEr Baby (烈儿宝贝) had sales of RMB 10 million in just five minutes. Her live broadcasts, even back then, before China’s KOL hayday, garnered view counts of millions. In the following year, 2018, her annual sales exceeded one billion RMB. Fast-forward to 2021, in January she won the 13th spot on the list of ‘Hot People of the Year’ according to Sina Weibo.
Q: How many followers does Hasi Food have?
A: She has over 5 million followers on Douyin
A Chinese food and beauty blogger, Hasi Food (哈西美食) did a whopping 61 live broadcasts in November 2019 alone, achieving sales of RMB 118 million. Her content is generally aimed at demonstrating recipes, but she accompanies this with selling beauty and body products.
In conclusion, according to most brands, KOL marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote in China. Here at HI-COM we understand the Chinese market. If you want to learn more about Chinese KOL marketing or need help with your Chinese marketing? Drop us a line!