The Insider’s Guide to KOL Collaborations in China: 5 Essential Tips

Collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) has become an increasingly popular marketing strategy for businesses looking to expand their reach and influence in China. With the country’s growing digital economy and social media landscape, KOLs have emerged as a powerful force in shaping consumer behaviour and preferences. 

Due to the rise of social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin, KOLs have immense influence over consumers and can significantly impact a brand’s reputation and sales.However, successful collaborations with KOLs require careful planning and execution. In this article, we’ll explore five essential tips for brands looking to collaborate effectively with KOLs in China


The concept of scarcity has been used by brands for years to create a sense of urgency and desire among consumers. When something is scarce, people perceive it as more valuable and are more likely to want it. This is especially true when it comes to limited-edition items.

There are several reasons why people are drawn to limited-edition items. First, they offer a sense of exclusivity. When something is only available for a short period or in limited quantities, it creates a feeling of exclusivity among consumers who are able to acquire it. This can make the product feel more valuable and desirable.

Second, limited-edition items often feature unique designs or collaborations that aren’t available anywhere else. This creates a sense of novelty and excitement among consumers who are interested in the brand or product. It can also make the product feel more collectible, as consumers may be interested in acquiring multiple items from a particular limited-edition collection.

Impact of KOLs collaborations in China


Brand nationalism is a powerful force in China, where consumers are highly patriotic and passionate about supporting domestic brands. Embracing brand nationalism can be a highly effective marketing strategy for foreign brands looking to establish a presence in China.

One of the key ways to embrace brand nationalism in China is by demonstrating a commitment to the country and its culture. This can be done through partnerships with local companies, collaborations with Chinese artists or designers, or by highlighting the brand’s investment in the local community.

Another important aspect of embracing brand nationalism in China is by understanding the unique preferences and tastes of Chinese consumers. This can include adapting product offerings to suit local preferences, using local influencers and celebrities in marketing campaigns, or offering special promotions or limited-edition items that are only available locally.

Brands that are successful in embracing brand nationalism in China often prioritise quality, reliability, and innovation. Chinese consumers are highly discerning and will not settle for inferior products even if they are made by domestic brands. Therefore, foreign brands that can demonstrate their commitment to quality and innovation are often able to win over Chinese consumers.


Limit the number of collaborations at any given time. It can be tempting to say yes to every collaboration opportunity that comes your way, but this can quickly lead to overload. Instead, set a limit on the number of collaborations you will pursue at any given time. This will allow you to focus your resources and energy on making each collaboration a success.

Develop long-term partnerships rather than one-off collaborations. Instead of pursuing multiple one-off collaborations, consider developing long-term partnerships with a select group of KOLs to build deeper relationships with influencers and create more meaningful and impactful collaborations over time.


In 2019, Givenchy collaborated with Mr. Bags (Tao Liang), a popular handbag blogger, on a limited-edition pink Mini Horizon purse. The bag was priced at 15,000 yuan ($2,243 USD) and sold out in just 12 minutes. It’s not only international brands who are actively using KOLs to promote their products and services. Domestic brands are riding the wave of influencers that have swept the country. 

Chinese consumers trust KOLs because they have built credibility over the years. Many influencers have been on social media platforms for years and have established a loyal following by consistently producing relatable, high-quality content that resonates with their followers. This has enabled them to create a reputation as a reliable source of information and recommendations for their followers.


Having a KOL vetting process is important for ensuring that you collaborate with the right influencers who align with your brand values and marketing goals. This is important because not all KOLs may be a good fit for your brand, and working with the wrong influencers can have negative consequences for your reputation.

The vetting process typically involves the following steps:

Identify your target audience: Make sure your KOL’s audience is a match with your target market. Their demographics should align with your overall marketing goal.

Conduct research and evaluate their reach and engagement: Most KOLs already have analytics ready. Make sure to request for this information beforehand so you can properly set the KPIs for your campaign.

Assess their brand alignment: This step is crucial since you have to make sure the KOL’s brand values and messaging align with your brand’s values and messaging. This can help to ensure that the collaboration is authentic and that the KOL’s endorsement of your product or service is genuine.

As an agency that has done multiple KOL collaborations we understand the importance of a KOL vetting process and have developed our own set of criteria for evaluating potential KOLs. Lastly, we assess the KOL’s track record of previous partnerships. We review their past collaborations to decide whether they have a history of producing successful campaigns and driving sales for their partners. This can help us to discern whether they are a good fit for our client’s marketing goals.

At Mediatropy, we strongly believe in the power of influencer marketing and the value it can bring to our clients. Our successful collaborations serve as a testament to our expertise in influencer marketing.If you are looking to grow your brand through KOLs, we would love to help you. Schedule a chat with us today to discover how we can assist you in achieving your marketing goals.

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