Top 5 Female Fitness KOLs Who Can Help You Break into China’s Emerging Fitness Industry
Author: Lauren Hallanan
Over the past several years as China’s middle class has grown, so has the fitness industry. And it’s not stopping anytime soon. Backed by government support, the health and fitness industries in China are expected to continue growing rapidly over the next few years as exercising becomes increasingly mainstream. This is the perfect time for brands to get into the market before it has matured and brands that have already done so are seeing impressive results. With the biggest drivers of this market being millennials, fitness influencers are an excellent way for brands to get in front of their target audience. Robin8 has used our data analytics tools to create a list of the top 30 female fitness KOLs in China and today we’ll highlight the top 5.
A healthy lifestyle has become a trendy status symbol among Chinese millennials, especially office workers in large cities. Like gym-goers in the west, they love taking gym selfies and showing off their fitness accomplishments on social media. They want to look good while exercising and they love having the newest apparel and gadgets.
The women’s fitness industry in China is still in its early phases, and women’s attitudes towards exercising and the type of exercise is different than in the west. In the past, Chinese women steered away from strenuous exercise, choosing sports like relaxation yoga and dancing. Women were afraid of muscle and felt the skinnier, the better.
But now, attitudes towards exercise are starting to shift as we see women starting to run and even do some weight training. Women are starting to enjoy the feeling of sweating during a good workout and appreciate the feeling of being strong.
However, the majority of women are still exercising with the focus of losing weight or staying slim, which can be seen by the body shapes of some of the top influencers which, to people in the west, may not seem very fit. Nevertheless, Chinese women (and men) are starting to become more accepting of women with toned and athletic body types and it seems likely this trend will continue to grow.
Because the industry is so new, many people do not even possess basic knowledge of how to work out, which is where influencers come in. Influencers play a very important role in educating consumers, teaching them new exercising methods through their videos, photos, and live streams. In addition to fitness, many of the KOLs ranked in the top 30 also post a lot about fashion and food.
Which Influencers Should Brands Work With?
To help brands narrow down their choices, Robin8 used data analytics to create a list of the 30 most influential female fitness KOLs on Weibo.
To create the list, Robin8’s software crawled all 11 million Weibo accounts and pulled out all personal verified accounts with over 100K followers whose gender is female and whose verification contained the keywords: sports or exercise (运动 or 健身). We then crawled the KOLs’ posts and selected those with the majority of posts being fitness related. We then ranked the KOLs based on the amount of engagement their fitness content receives. Lastly, we manually removed any KOLs suspected of purchasing fake fans and engagement or who are not real people.
Here are the Top 30 Female Fitness Influencers on Weibo:
To give you a better idea of who they are and the type of content they put out, we would like to share a bit more about the top five women on the list:
Weibo Fans: 133, 387
While Zoey has fewer fans than many of the other KOLs on the list, her content is very focused on fitness and her engagement is very high. Furthermore, Zoey is a certified fitness instructor in the U.S., which gives her credibility and instills trust in her followers. Her exercise videos are professional looking and often get hundreds if not thousands of reposts. On top of that, Zoey has the slender yet toned body shape that the majority of Chinese women desire.
Weibo Fans: 1,026,769
Bihua Xiaojie has been sharing fitness content since the early days of Weibo in 2010. Her simple videos (often filmed in her living room) are very popular and include additional subtitles and instructions explaining proper form.
Weibo Fans: 787,583
Hitomi is very similar to the voluptuous fitness KOLs we are used to seeing all over Instagram. She and her husband are both fitness influencers and her feed is filled with gym selfies and sexy bathing suit photoshoots.
Weibo Fans: 356,909
Anwei’s content is for those women who are just starting to get into exercise and are still focused on staying slim. Her most popular videos are of simple strengthening and stretching exercises or are videos explaining the benefits of exercise. She also includes a lot of lifestyle content of her and her husband.
Weibo Fans: 440,619
As the champion of the 2015 Chinese Bodybuilder’s Association competition, Momo is another influencer who is pushing the boundaries for acceptance of athletic female body shapes in China. With a cute face and a ripped body, Momo’s content is primarily of her working out in the gym or participating in various fitness events and campaigns.
Robin8 (en.robin8.net) is China’s leading Influencer search engine and platform powered by big data and AI. The company has profiled over 30 million influencers and completed over 5000+ campaigns.