Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) refer to influential public figures, whom people perceive as experts in certain fields and are knowledgeable on many topics. As they are very popular in China, they are a powerful marketing tool for brands. With their help, they can influence large communities and reach thousands or even millions of potential customers.

Chinese website topklout.com  has created an index of the most influent Key Opinion Leaders (KOL). What they call their “TOP100 Red List” is based on data retrieved from six social media sites:

  • Sina Weibo is one of the first social media platforms in China. Created in 2007, is now has more than 100 million daily users. You can define it as a mix of Facebook and Twitter, Chinese people are totally addicted to this micro blogging service.
  • WeChat (called Weixin in Chinese) is one of the best known and most used social networks in China. It is akin to a combination of WhatsApp and Facebook with the addition of different functions (QR Codes, etc.). WeChat has around 750 million daily active users.
  • Toutiao (literally: “Headlines”) is a news and information mobile application that recommends personalized information to users based on artificial intelligence technology and data mining. In January 2017, Toutiao has more than 175 million monthly active users.
  • Miaopai is a Chinese video sharing app. Miaopai lets users shoot, edit, and share 10 second videos, like the former application Vine. The service was launched in late 2013 with help from Sina Weibo. Miaopai has 70 million daily active users.
  • Youku is a Chinese online video and streaming platform that attracts 500 million active monthly users.
  • Baidu is the first search engine company in China. It offers different services (image search, Baidu Baike, etc.). Baidu has 660 million monthly active users.

Several quantitative and qualitative aspects were used to create the ranking, depending on the influence of the KOLs (media asset management, user value, brand effect, etc.). With all this gathered data, the website has ranked these 5 influencers as the TOP KOLs in China:

Papi酱 (Papi Jiang)

Papi Jiang is an active Internet celebrity and she uses Chinese social media like Sina Weibo or Youku (she is also present on YouTube). She is famous for her short video podcasts in which she makes fun of daily situations or news. In 2016, she was named “the No. 1 Internet Celebrity” in China. She is so influential that Chinese investors are willing to sponsor her new content.

回憶專用小馬甲 (Ma Jianguo)

Ma Jianguo is second in this ranking with his Sina Weibo account followed by 24.3 million fans. They can follow the everyday life of Ma Jianguo’s dog (NiuNiu) and cat (DuanWu).

艾克里里(Aikeli Li)

Aikeli Li is a famous blogger and photographer in China. He is present on Weibo (9.3 million fans) and on Meipai where he shares daily videos and photos of his life. He notably went viral with his “ugly makeup” videos.

英國報姐證 (UK Times or Literally: British Newspaper Sister)

UK Times is present on Sina Weibo, Youku and Miaopai. She shares content about the United Kingdom and other international content (pictures, videos, memes, etc.). She has more than 13.2 million fans on Weibo.

王尼玛 (Bao Zou Big News Events)

Bao Zou Big News Events is a Chinese weekly online satirical talk-show covering various subjects from news to politics and literature. The program can be seen on Youku and has reached a total of 1.5 billion views.

You can visit TOPKLOUT website to see the full rankings. Most of the top KOLs in China are Chinese, but you can find a few foreigners, like the Australian DavidHothot (46) or the American jasonchenmusic (49).

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