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Introduction

Influencer marketing is a global industry. In just about every country out there, there are popular and celebrated social media creators and brands using them to connect with consumers. Not all countries have the same scale of influencer marketing, however. While on the traditional platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, the United States is the dominant country in influencer marketing spending power and presence. However, one country has already exceeded the United States in terms of the importance and strength of the influencer marketing industry.

China is the world’s most populated country, home to over 1.4 billion people. While the great firewall of China, the extensive system they’ve implemented to block out certain websites on the internet, dramatically alters their digital environment, their influencer marketing industry remains massive. Platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Tencent Video, and Douyin, the Chinese TikTok equivalent, are exceedingly popular amongst citizens and marketers.

The Chinese influencer marketing industry is not the same as the Western one. Cultural and technological differences make it very different from the West’s industry, but the concept remains the same. Marketers utilize the platforms of famed social media celebrities to sell their products or services, just in different ways and on different platforms.

Let’s explore a little bit more about the Chinese influencer marketing industry, diving into some of the incredible numbers that show its strength, and learn how we can apply it to influencer marketing here in North America.

The Incredible State of the Industry

China is a massive country that has rapidly modernized in recent decades, and with that has come huge digital development. That development has shown in the number of internet users in the country. In 2006, 10.5% of China was on the internet, according to data from the World Bank. Fast forward to 2020, and that number is over 70%. That is a massive cohort of people online in China, many of them avid social media users. Statista has numbers that show China has over a billion social media users, far more than any other country.

According to Azoya, there are 1.2 billion monthly active users of WeChat, China’s biggest platform, with most of those users in China. There are over 520 million monthly users of Weibo and 420 million on Little Red Book. To put it succinctly, there is an unparalleled number of people on social media in China, and their devotion to the top creators is awe-inspiring.

In China, influencers are also known as Key Opinion Leaders or KOL. The power these influencers wield is significant. According to a Statista survey, 81% of respondents who follow at least one influencer purchased the products endorsed by that influencer at some point. One of the big reasons for this is the strength of China’s e-commerce industry. According to Chain Storage, in 2021, 52% of China’s retail purchases were from e-commerce sales, making it the first country to have over half of its retail sales come online. This number is far above that of other nations.

The biggest demonstration of the power influencer marketing has in China came on Single’s Day in October of 2021. Single’s Day is China’s biggest purchasing holiday, and according to Accenture, two influencers, Li Jiaqi and Viya, combined to sell a whopping $3 billion worth of products on that single day just by endorsing them. This is an unimaginable number, one that no influencers anywhere else can dream of replicating.

China’s influencer marketing industry is easily the biggest globally, as no country on the planet can even come close to the volume of social media users present in China. The deep tie between social media and commerce in the country is likely only strengthening. Let’s look at what we can learn from this in North America going forward.

What Can We Learn from This?

This shows with certainty the strength of the influencer marketing industry going forward. While what happens in China isn’t necessarily what will occur in the United States or Canada, some of the shifts in China bode well for influencer marketers here. E-commerce is still a very small portion of retail sales in North America compared to China, but it grows every year and will likely only continue to grow.

The more popular e-commerce is, the more companies will need to prioritize online marketing, which will feed into the growth of influencer marketing. The power top-tier influencers will wield will only grow in significance. While we may never see individual American or Canadian influencers account for billion-dollar sales days, their importance and impact will rise with the industry.

If you are looking to launch or improve your influencer outreach strategy, partnering with a top influencer marketing agency is the way to do it. Influence Hunter is that agency, an influencer marketing firm with years of high-level social media marketing experience. Influence Hunter has partnered with brands across industries to develop highly successful and customizable Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok influencer marketing strategies. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your business.

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