In recent years, fashion bloggers, social media channels, and dedicated talent agencies have popularized internet celebrities in China. Now, the same celebrities are gaining followers worldwide.
In many ways, global fandom began with a Taobao star named MOMO. In November 2017, Mofan Zhang (MOMO), started receiving attention from the global market and ended up on a billboard in Times Square dedicated to her brand, Mo.amour.
In December 2017, the host of the YouTube talk show “Pop Trigger” analyzed MOMO’s entrepreneurial experience, brand operation, and marketing. It was one of the first instances of foreign media talking about a Chinese internet star.
The awareness of Chinese brands continues to grow in the global market, and Chinese internet celebrities are turning their attention abroad.
Online celebrities with a stable following have more ways to monetize, such as internet broadcast, celebrity endorsement, and distribution. Lulu, the manager of overseas markets for Chinese internet celebrity talent agency Ruhnn Holdings, stated, “we realized that a lot of popular content on Weibo would also be popular on Facebook.”
On Feb. 7, 2018, WME-IMG announced on its official Weibo account that it had signed a contract with Eve. The talent group would represent her worldwide, leveraging its global film, fashion, and sports affiliations to further enhance Eve’s commercial value.
The path forward for Eve may mirror that of Rhianna, famous singer and fashion icon. Her beauty series, Fenty, which she co-founded with Puma, sparked a huge upsurge in popularity. Fenty has been a success since its launch last year.
Eve, who has nearly 6 million followers on Weibo, already has plenty of experience managing social accounts. That means the agency just needs to copy her original brand operation and do a good job of localization. But many Chinese internet celebrities have smaller bases, calling into question their chances of global recognition.
Alibaba’s Tmall Chuhai is one avenue. It was officially launched on Jun. 12, 2017, Yue Leng, director of Tmall World, stated that unlike other e-commerce platforms, Tmall Chuhai is especially suitable for SMEs selling to the world.
One part of Tmall Chuhai called The New Media and Online Star Project is slated to become an important channel for showing China-made products to global consumers. Its business strategy is to have Chinese brands cooperate with Chinese internet stars or internet stars local to the target market to increase sales and build brand identity.
For the project’s vision, Yong Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, said that the platform will attempt to access 2 billion global consumers allowing them to receive packages within 72 hours of purchase. Additionally, the platform with help 10 million SMEs go global.