Foreign Stars can also make a lot of money in China, here’s how!

In this article, we’ll give you more detail about how foreign stars can get famous in China, but also how to make a lot of money from it.

Being famous is a dream for many people. Celebrity, wealth, and recognition can push many to devote themselves to some specific career such as singer, actor/actress, influencer, producer, sportsman, etc.

And yeah, many stars are making millions by accident. For some of them even billions. But if your end goal is to get better than yourself and always push forward your audience, your income, your fame… Then, you need to try out Asia. And particularly in China.

You may have not thought about it, but let’s make a point here. China it’s:

  • Over 1.4 billion peoples
  • Purchasing power increasing of +6.6%
  • The middle class is growing with currently 350-400 million people
  • Over 800 million daily internet users
  • The world’s second-largest media & entertainment market

Meaning that there are a lot of people out there, there are very connected, and it’s, therefore, a huge market for companies and endorsement.

Read our KOLs Guide for China

So, if a celebrity is able to make millions in Europe or in the USA, imagine putting his talents to a bigger scale while integrating the Chinese market. It would be:

Also, there is two way to operate in China. The good one, and the other one.

Let’s start with the other one.

You have millions of people following you on Instagram, you’re maybe a super famous model or pop star, but in China, it doesn’t count at all.

Because they use a different communication system than we do, they may have never heard about you. No Google, no Facebook, no Instagram, no YouTube… All media that helped you to be famous back home, don’t exist over here.

So, if you plan to succeed in China just because of your fame overseas, it won’t work.

The American model Karlie Kloss gets over 8 million followers on Instagram, but less than 400,000 on Little Red Book (also called XiaoHongShu), which is a very famous platform with more than 100 million users registered.

On the opposite, Angelababy, a Hong-Kong based actress and Dior ambassador gets over 14.4 million followers on Little Red Book, but also close to 8 million on Instagram.

What do we learn from these two stars?

If you think you’re going to be famous in China just because of your fame abroad, it won’t work. If you’re not well-known in the local market, you’ll first need to build a genuine connection with local people. But if you do so, then you can truly earn the title of an international superstar.

A good way to operate.

Kim Kardashian West was aiming to develop a new segment in China for her new fragrance “KKW”. Also, she tried it out on XiaoHongShu, open an account in English and despite her 135 million followers on Instagram, she couldn’t manage to do more than 171,000 followers on the Chinese platform… In the same way, she opened a Weibo account, and spread information in English, but one more time it didn’t work. She couldn’t manage anything…

However, she understood that her problem was not the market, but her lack of recognition and positioning in this new market. Also, the famous reality TV star and businesswoman organized a live stream with a Chinese top Key opinion leader (KOL): Viya Huang. As a result, this time she managed to get over 13 million viewers and sold out her perfume stock.

Viya Huang is a KOL able to sell $50 million of goods in one day. She represents 9 million followers on China’s e-commerce platform Taobao and is, therefore, an important influencer.

What do we learn from that?

If you’re unknown on the market, either work on your reputation, or use other local KOL as leverage to develop your fame and sales.

Also, you may be lazy, arrogant, or maybe not well represented by your marketers, but don’t forget that in China they speak Chinese, not English. So, publishing content in English won’t help you at all.

How stars can make money in China?

Become a KOL!

Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) are popular social media users who use to create a buzz or viral content while generating a large following on social media platforms. They mostly create personal connections with fans while sharing advice, reviews, instructions, or tips about lifestyle subjects, brands, trips, or products.

Also, KOLs have two ways to make money in China:

  • Receiving gifts or money from their fans, through the different platforms they use
  • Doing endorsement for brands and companies

To perform as a KOL, users mainly use 3 tools to promote themselves:

  • Short video
  • Social media
  • Livestreaming

If Kim Kardashian can make 1 million dollars in one hour while doing live streaming with a Chinese KOL, I’m pretty sure you can do it too. You just need the right methodology.

How to make millions as a KOL?!

To succeed as a KOL in China, remember 2 things:

  • Get them to know you
  • Develop your image in China


We’re back to the problem that they may don’t know you. So, of course, it’s impossible to be endorsed by a brand if you’re unknown in the country. Furthermore, consider that trust is ruling China’s business world.

There are too many scams here. Fake people, fake companies, and fake products. And if they don’t want to waste their time or money, they’ll have to be sure who they deal with.

Therefore, here’s what you should do:

  • Making yourself a Chinese Website, is easy for contacts

If one day you want to operate in China, be sure that they’ll check on you. Everybody from the final consumers to your future partners. They’ll try to see if you’re a real expert on your domain, if you’re really famous abroad, what’s your story, if Chinese people know you if there are any articles on online comments about you, etc. Therefore, you’ll have to make your own website and develop some content about yours.

even put his Weibo contact 

  • Open a Weibo account, and put your contact 

Weibo corresponds to Chinese Twitter. Probably the most popular Chinese social media. A tool that will help you to get access to a wild audience and engage with Chinese people. Allowing high visibility for its users, Weibo is THE perfect tool for KOL. Chinese people are very suggestible. It’s therefore, a perfect way for you to grow a fan base in China and start spreading your influence. If they like you, word to mouth will do the job for you.

But don’t forget, that for both of these solutions you’ll have to make everything in Chinese.

For the second one:

Understand that there is a lot of competition in China for success. And a lot of people are trying out to become the next super megastar of KOL. And if you want to do so, you’ll have to brand yourself and build up the best reputation possible. And to build your reputation, it will go through Chinese social media.

  • WeChat 

Very famous in China, it’s a basic here. A messenger app offering you the possibility to share content with your “friend” such as text/videos/pictures/music/etc. This is awesome for you, as the main mission of KOL is to share content about different subjects. On WeChat there is also group discussion possibility, allowing Chinese people to talk about their problems and how to solve it, but also talk about new trends, who to follow, what products to buy, etc. As KOL, you can use it to engage your followers and interact with your community.

  • Douyin; The Video King

If you want to be famous as a KOL, you’ll have to use it! A video-sharing app. Young people LOVE it. Through this one, you can create video content and spread it to a very large audience (can reach millions of people). If you play it smart, you can connect with thousands of people and make the buzz! Fun & Intuitive, Chinese people love to interact with KOL there. And companies LOVE to develop a KOL strategy on this app. Perfect for you.

To give you an example, a young Chinese lady recently made Buzz while spreading a PPT on Douyin. A simple PPT… which resulted in over 1 million RMB product sales in a day.

She’s now a star.

If she can do it, you can do it!

example Will SMith

  • Baidu, leading search engine in China

Baidu is the Chinese Google. Netizens are always looking for information on it. Also, as we previously explained Chinese people need to trust you. And whether it’s the final consumers or a company that could hire your services, they’ll check on you before doing anything.

To optimize your online presence, you can implement plenty of actions:

  • Baidu Zhidao & Zhihu: a good way to deliver information about you
  • Baidu Baike: the Chinese Wikipedia. It’s very important in China. You’ll need to make your own page there.
  • PR: Peoples want to read articles about you. If no media talk about you, then you’re not famous enough…
  • Forums: If you’re an important Star and future KOL, you’ll be present in the forum’s discussion. You’ll have an active fan base commenting about you on a regular basis

Step 3, work hard on your popularity in China

Once you’ll be visible in China with a strong reputation, you’ll get successful and ready to make millions. And it should go fast if you follow the methodology and if you are already a star abroad. Chinese are very connected, and many huge multinational companies come from this country.

So, think about your career development, your wealth, of your success.

When you are popular, Brands will contact you.

What do you want to achieve? Do you want to be a local star? Or would you rather be a real international star?

Everything is about ambition.


And if have any questions about how to make money as a foreign star in China, please feel free to contact us.

We are GMA the Gentle Agency

  • Expert in Digital Marketing
  • Professional in KOL development in China
  • Deep knowledge of the Chinese Market

1 comment

  • If I’m not a start can I still become famous in China or at elast start a decent modeling carreer?

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