Chinese Influencers: Internet celebrities (Wang Hong) vs bloggers


While bloggers have a verifiable career in Western countries, specialising in everything from fashion, beauty to lifestyle – in China the market is quite different. We have ‘Wang hong’ meaning internet celebrities too.

‘Wang hong’ is someone who has lots of followers, but unlike bloggers they do not need to be seen as a content expert. Instead they are influencer due to their looks or their sense of humour. As fans have become familiar with this new type of influencer in China, their audience’s content expectation has risen which has lead to higher quality content. This confuses foreign brands who often rely on influencers to market in China. They may ask what is the difference between ‘wang hong’ and bloggers in China? How can I analyse who is who online to figure how to classify them?

Today let’s talk about the difference between these two groups of people and their strengths.

Sina Weibo, 'wanghong' Lin Shanshan Sunny

Sina Weibo, ‘wanghong’ Lin Shanshan Sunny

Wanghong’: As I mentioned above, ‘wanghong’ are not bloggers, they don’t need to be super knowledgable around a specific topic. However, they still have a strong influence. Their followers are usually from tier 2-3 cities who like approachable fashion and beauty, but aren’t so serious, they just want to have fun online and get inspiration on how to look great. For this audience these influencers are a type of online star, someone who is not on the same level as a movie star or singer, someone who is more approachable. They feel closer and more personable.

@filxiaobai a leading KOL blogger

@filxiaobai a leading KOL blogger

Bloggers: Are people who have a strong influence online but they are more knowledgeable about their content area. Most of them are good at styling or are known for their writing flair. They need to research new ideas and combine their findings with current trends to present their editorial point of view to their followers. Their followers are usually from tier 1-2 cities who have a strong interest in fashion or beauty, their trend knowledge level is high and they want to understand trends on a deeper level.

@gogoboi leading male KOL blogger Gogoboi

@gogoboi leading male KOL blogger Gogoboi

So, as a brand, how can you tell the difference when scrolling through the Internet or social media? Unfortunately in China these days the line is blurring, it’s not that clear. Many brands simply give these two different influencer groups one name, KOL (key opinion leader) even though these two types of influencers have different impacts. While their reach and importance is impressive, China’s blogging industry has a long way to go.

Like this guest post? Learn more about guest blogger and author: Monki Yuki

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Monki Yuki is an up-and-coming post 90s (born during the 1990s) fashion blogger who loves digital trends. She has freelanced for publications ELLE China and Vogue China. On her blog she covers fashion shows, style trends, inspiration and educational styling content about up-coming Asian influencers.

You can follow her on Weibo, check out her WeChat microblog (WeChat id: upto10) or view her work in progress website.

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