Wenzhuo Wu
Dec 8, 2019

The risk in China’s huge influencer economy

Recent stumbles by KOL facilitators in China show the market is still fluid.

Two of the top Chinese influencers, Li Jiaqi (left) and Viya Huang (right), have gained massive domestic fanbases through live-streaming on foreign cosmetic products. Photo: Zhihu. Illustration: Haitong Zheng/Jing Daily

This year’s Alibaba Singles’ Day celebration proved that a live-streamer can turn into a mega-influencer that garners the same attention as a top idol. Starting his career as an online lipstick salesperson on Taobao, Li Jiaqi has since become one of the most recognized internet celebrities in China. His overnight explosion in popularity is shedding light on the unique influencer phenomenon that’s been birthed by China’s highly-competitive e-commerce and social media platforms.

Idols were always...

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