Influencer/KOL marketing in China - statistics & facts
In many ways, social media has redefined fame and influenced how companies connect with their customers. To reach out to a broader audience, influencer marketing is a crucial gateway for consumer brands. In China, this sector was estimated to be worth about 100 billion yuan in 2021 and the entire influencer economy can swell to almost seven trillion yuan by 2025. Moving from text and photos to live streaming, social commerce, and short videos, China’s influencer marketing is booming.
Influencers vs KOLs
As a type of social media marketing, influencer marketing involves effective endorsements and product mentions from individuals who possess sizeable followings on social media. It is worth noting that the word “influencer” is used more broadly in China, covering bloggers, online content creators, live streamers, and traditional celebrities. “Key opinion leader” (KOL) is the common Chinese terminology for an influencer marketing practitioner who can command their followers to help brands gain exposure, or directly sell products.
But there is a possible solution for that – virtual influencers, computer-generated characters which usually resemble human personas. With higher engagement rates and better growth retention, AI-created influencers are the latest marketing buzzwords in China. Popular virtual characters, such as anime singer Luo Tianyi and virtual makeup artist Liu Yexi, have worked with KFC, L’Oréal, and other international brands. Given technology advancements and a growing consumer interest, virtual influencers are likely to become more ubiquitous in the country. Market forecasts have shown that by 2023, China’s virtual idol sector will create over 330 billion yuan of additional commercial value to other fields.
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