The influence of social media has been enormous in every corner of the world. People are getting addicted to social media platforms and spending a lot of screen time by just scrolling feeds. However, it’s use is not limited to connecting with friends and informing the world about what is happening in your life. Social media platforms have become a vital part of people’s lives. Advertisers have determined this trend and they are using these platforms to spread the word about their products and services.
China is one of the largest market in the world. Being famous has worked in favor of celebrities as advertisers utilize their huge fan following to market their products. Celebrities in China have been raking in million through endorsements on their social media platforms. Along with millions of fans on social media, pockets of Chinese celebrities have been filled with millions. The online celebrity industry has generated more revenue than the domestic film industry. In 2016, online celebrity economy generated nearly 58 billion yuan, while domestic move business generated around 45.7 billion yuan.
Actor-singer Lu Han is among the top earning celebrities in China. He has endorsed luxury Cartier accessories, flavored milk of brand Yili, and others. Actress Yang Mi is also one of the popular celebrities on social media site Weibo with more than 77 million fans. She endorsed brands such as Michael Kors and Estee Lauder. She is regarded as a queen for driving sales and well known for starting new fashion trends based on clothes she wears. According to Forbes China’s list of celebrities based on earning and popularity, Lu earned nearly 210 million Yuan in a year ending June 30, 2017. While, Yang generated nearly 200 million Yuan in the same duration. Some of the social media influencers have little less following, but they have ability to drive sales by engaging audience. Papi Jiang, well-known for comic video blogs, has been acted in a commercial for watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre.
Some of the celebrities have shifted their focus on endorsing their own products instead of endorsing others. Zhang Dayi, a model runs her shop on Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace. Her shop is one of the most popular online in the Chinese industry. According to BBC, Zhang earned nearly 300 million yuan through various business ventures.
Increase in integration of social media and online retail has been one of the crucial reasons for the boom in the industry. The integration has provided an interactive platform for online shopping. Apart from online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, social media platforms help people to make purchase decisions.
Angelito Tan, CEO of China-based RTG Consulting, told CNBC, “In China, the line between social media and e-commerce is much more blurred … On Chinese platforms, e-commerce is always one click away from content.”
Chinese opinion leaders, a term used in Chinese marketing industry for social media celebrities, have a lot of common with YouTube and Instagram influencers in the U.S. and Europe. But the way their followers relate to them is somewhat different. Chinese people trust social media personalities more, considering them as a part of their friend group. Instagrammers in the west who seem wealthy and beautiful are influential. While in China, social media personalities posting genuine and do-it-yourself stuff get more exposure. Though how social media personalities influence is different than west, there is no doubt they are raking in millions through their social media platforms.