KOLs in China: How to Craft Relationships for Returns

Is the selling power of China’s KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) changing the nature of Chinese e-commerce marketing?

This past year has seen an explosion in KOLs moving from merely posting branded content, to now helping brands to directly sell product. Last week we saw a prime example of this shift in KOL power when Mini Cooper teamed up with Chinese fashion blogger Becky Li to sell 100 Mini Cooper cars. She leveraged her vast social media following to help the brand sell 100 cars in 4 minutes.

In this issue of The Luxury Conversation, we look at four recent examples of this influence-to-sales shift, and provide tips on how to get the best results from similar partnerships.


1. Mr. Bags x Givenchy

Mr. Bags is one of the top 10 influencers in China. His platform is focused on fashion accessories – namely bags (his trademark) and shoes. With more than 3 million followers on Weibo and his WeChat posts garnering more than 100,000 plus views, Mr. Bags has become a leading ‘sales’ KOL within the fashion industry and works with many of the top international luxury brands.

The Campaign

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, Mr. Bags partnered with fashion powerhouse Givenchy to offer a Valentine’s Day x Mr. Bags limited edition bag to his fans. The 80 pink mini horizon bags were priced at RMB 14,900 each.


All 80 bags were sold within 12 minutes of being posted on Mr. Bags’ channels.

2. Mr. Bags x TOD’s


Tod’s recently worked with Mr. Bags to launch 200 custom pieces of three iconic handbags- the ‘Sella’, ‘Double T’, and ‘Wave’. This campaign involved interaction with Mr. Bags’ fans in order to develop the design of the bags. Via live-streaming, video content and images, followers could give design input and feedback along the way, generating hype and excitement in the run up to the launch.


The 200 custom pieces all sold out at a total value of RMB 3.4 million.

3. GOGOBOI x Givenchy

Gogoboi is also one China’s top 10 fashion influencers, with over 7 million followers on Weibo, and articles regularly hitting more than 100,000 views. On WeChat, he discusses fashion tips and trends and celebrity style, along with his most famous posts ‘Who Wears What?’. In May 2017, Gogoboi launched his own WeChat e-commerce, linking all recommended items in his article to direct sales.

The Campaign

Recently, Givenchy partnered with Gogoboi to sell their new ‘Duetto’ handbag collection in 7 colors. Fans were able to buy 1 of 6 bags available in each color.


All the bags were snapped up within 72 hours.

4. BECKY LI x MINI Cooper

Becky Li is one of China’s top 10 fashion influencers. She is dubbed the ‘Buying Goddess’ due to her product recommendations and loyal fan base of more than 1.6 million on WeChat.

The Campaign

Last week, Becky Li launched the ‘Mini Yours’ campaign with Mini. The campaign comprised of Becky posting content about the special ‘Caribbean Aqua’ color of the car and matching it with her fashion recommendations.


All 100 limited edition Minis sold out within 4 minutes of launch.


Luxury brands are now clearly seeing that KOLs in China are not only a tool to build awareness and affinity with potential customers, but also a powerful new channel to launch exclusive products and sell directly to customers.

Key tips for a successful partnership include:

1. Relating the product to the KOL

Fans want to see authentic and meaningful collaborations between brands and their favorite KOLs, like Mr. Bags customizing limited edition handbags or Becky Li working with Mini on one of the seasons hottest new colors.

2. Bringing followers into the process

The best partnerships take followers along the journey. For example, they want to be asked for their feedback or to share their stories and experiences. It shouldn’t be a one-way process.

3. Building a long-term relationship

In many of these examples, the brands have been working with the KOLs already on other campaigns and projects. The KOLs selling the brand’s product is seen as a natural extension of the long-term relationship between the consumer, the KOL and the brand.

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