CIM057: How to Reach Chinese Expats with Influencer Marketing with Charlie Gu, Founder of Kollective Influence

January 11, 2020


Today I’m chatting with Charlie Gu, Founder of the agency Kollective Influence which helps brands reach Chinese travelers and Chinese young professionals and students living abroad, mainly through working with local Chinese influencers.

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  • How are Chinese consumers based in the U.S. and other Western countries different than their Mainland counterparts
    • Language skills are better which gives them cultural exposure to values, trends, brands in western market, so adopt some of behaviors of western consumers but still have much of taste and aesthetics
    • Think more rationally than Mainland consumers because they have more exposure, like to do more research
  • How to target these consumers through influencer marketing. Charlie recommends working with local Chinese influencers as he feels they are able to create content that resonates with their peers and because they are living in the country and society where these brands are rooted they are considered more authentic. He then shares some best practices for working with U.S. based Chinese influencers.
  • Instagram and Xiaohongshu are the key platforms you should be considering. While Instagram is banned in China it still has a lot of influence among Chinese consumers. Many start creating content as a hobby while studying abroad so grew Instagram audience. More than 2 million MAU on Instagram from China, these users are what Charlie calls the “self-filtered elites” – they understand English, might be living abroad or travel abroad frequently, typically higher income level
  • For offline events, most are located near top schools – NYC, LA, SF and Boston, Dallas a new growth spot
  • Internationally-based Chinese influencers are a tight knit circle – find one or two you like and then look who they are following
  • They typically have smaller audiences than Mainland Chinese influencers but they are more targeted. Also many of them may start growing their following abroad and then move back to China and become big influencers (aka Mr. Bags) so good to develop a relationship with them now.

Charlie’s KOL Recommendations:

  • Savislook
  • Beijingxiaofengzi
  • Wanwanxuejue
  • Scarlett Hao
  • Haileydaily
  • Chicdev
  • Susan Su

Guest: Charlie Gu




Host: Lauren Hallanan



WeChat: H1212118514

Check out my book: Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs

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