KOLs: The what, who, and where of influencers in Hong Kong

As social media dominates our time, the influencer has become key in many marketing campaigns. Key opinion leaders (KOL) have audiences that follow and trust their recommendations. Brands can leverage them with their KOL marketing strategy to engage and impact customers’ decisions.

With so much noise generated by print advertisements, dynamic video series, and the visual hubbub that is social media, brands try to hit the perfect note. What resonates with the masses has changed. Companies realize that it is no longer enough to use clean-cut adverts to promote. They need a voice that people will listen to – a voice that comes from the crowd. Welcome the key opinion leader and influencer marketing.

There has been a shift in focus of consumers to online content that is not going to stop. It seems inevitable then that marketers who learn to read and direct the flow of digital trends will emerge as leaders in the future.

Having established a strong voice among their peers, these key opinion leaders are considered the We seek authentic content reviews and personal recommendations over PR pamphlets; influencers deliver with aesthetic creativity and ‘real-life’ validation.

And among these crowd-connected figures are individuals we refer to as Key Opinion Leaders (K.O.Ls).

What is a KOL?

A key opinion leader (KOL) is an influential individual on a social platform, like Instagram, that consumers trust with purchasing decisions and popular opinions.

What sets a KOL apart from your regular influencer is not their follower size nor their curated aesthetics, but a specific niche and targeted audience. They could be brand ambassadors as well. Where a kol may bask in the loose parameters of the ‘lifestyle’ thematic, KOLs narrow in one particular area of expertise. For instance, they dedicate their attention to sustainable fashion or handmade jewelry.

Because they are known for an established presence in a single niche, their followers come to regard them as experts in that field. They know who to go to for a chosen topic. It is this trust and authenticity that allows them to influence their audiences – their highly regarded opinion dictates the trends. They form the foundation of influencer marketing.

What makes KOLs so popular?

In a world oversaturated with consumer goods and pretty marketing schemes, it is difficult for us to differentiate between what is average, what is simply marketed well, and what is actually worth investing in. It is also challenging to find our footing when trends change faster than the wind; who knows what the next fad will be? We know who… it will be the KOLS.

KOLs give us direction. A KOL can point out what deserves attention. A key opinion leader can also set trends. These key opinion leaders are popular because they are regular people we can relate to – we trust that they are giving us an unbiased opinion as a consumer and an informed review as someone with true-and-tried expertise. Their social platforms are proof that they have invested their own time and money in understanding a niche, showing fans that they have grown into their position as a KOL.

Who are the most popular KOLs in Hong Kong?

Like most Asian cities, Hong Kong has experienced a movement toward everything digital – and marketers have been quick to hop aboard the online content trend. The influencer market bloomed overnight, although it is only recently that companies have learned to leverage KOLs and influencer marketing in their branding campaigns. It really can improve a brand’s chances of reaching its target audience.

1. Lily Wong

Dabbling in everything lifestyle, Lily Wong first emerged as one of our favorite key opinion leaders. She loves building long term relationships with her fans. Lily is well known for sharing her knowledge of food, travel, fashion, and beauty. Like most top KOLs in Hong Kong, she started out on social media with no particular intention of becoming a thought leader for her target market; it was simply a means of sharing her life experiences.

Her Instagram feed demonstrates how KOLs are used to raise brand awareness in influencer marketing – you’ll find focused posts where she poses with a singular product. In the post caption of her KOL marketing campaign, she describes its need, why she recommends it, how much it costs, and where you can buy it. In other posts, she shares food photos and tags the restaurant, essentially pushing a ‘best buy, please try’ strategy. This can really help a brand get in front of the right audience and convert them to followers.


Because of the versatile nature of her Instagram, she is a KOL influencer who can cater to various niches.

2. Alvin Chan

Model, photographer, and KOL influencer in one, Alvin Chan is an example of when a passion project attracts a following. Initially reposting his portfolio and work shots from his modeling job, then creating a separate space for his photography, Alvin started getting recognition as a creative. He became one of Hong Kong’s favorite photography thought leaders.

His day job and passion for photography have put him in the perfect position to act as a KOL; any clothing brands he wears, or features will instantly be taken note of. It makes for great word of mouth marketing. As a photographer himself, he can also target creative crowds by sharing insights and tips on how to best photograph a subject, and how to plan around a creative shoot. This can appeal to fashion brands wanting to do a KOL campaign to a creatively targeted audience.

3. Moanna Shum

Having started out with sharing food pics on Facebook and then Instagram, Moanna has long since become one of the best key opinion leaders for lifestyle. She is a KOL that features travels, fashion, and brand collaborations. Her Instagram feed is a collage of bright and vibrant photos of what she eats. Also, whenever she enjoyed a unique experience, is traveling or posing in a stylish outfit, she does what a KOL does… she shares her love and joy for these things with her target audience.

She is perhaps one of the best examples of leveraging a KOL. You will find each outfit tagged, each product explained, and every brand launch well-documented. Her descriptions are not cluttered, letting the photos speak for themselves. Not only does she raise brand awareness, but she also does it in a way that positions the product as a natural part of her daily routine – as if “this is something I use and something you should have.” She makes one of the most effective Chinese KOLs, and brands would be wise to use her in their KOL marketing strategy.

4. Noel Li

Minimalistic and chic, Noel Li’s Instagram feed is immensely attractive for those who want to pull off an effortlessly lavish lifestyle. Keeping it realistic and down-to-earth, Noel decorates his feed with snapshots of his life, as he is also a KOL who works as an influencer outside of his day job.

Amongst his travel photos are carefully placed shots of products – with the subject framed and brand tagged. With a single post, KOLs promote the product and raise brand awareness with the target audience. Like Moanna, he keeps his captions short and easy to digest. He is one of the key opinion leaders to follow in Hong Kong.

Scour through these KOLs respective social media platforms, and thus, Hong Kong brands mostly position KOLs as ambassadors, industry experts, or seek to do simple placement shots.

Their efforts in KOL marketing to reach the target market come off as natural and classy. Rather than in-your-face ads, we now see examples of creative and ambitious youths employing these products in their daily lives.

Top Hong Kong Lifestyle Influencers

1. Zelia Zhong

The Hong Kong-based model showcases her enviable luxury lifestyle across various social media platforms, with her audience reach is in the 100’s of thousands of followers on both Facebook and Instagram. Her chic and modern fashion sense has earned her a permanent spot as one of the most prominent KOLs in Hong Kong.

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/zelia/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/zelia.zhong/

2. Tina Wong

Tina Wong is a successful model who devotes her attention to bringing the best beauty, fashion and lifestyle advice to her avid fanbase. As a fashion graduate, you can be sure that her style is always in vogue. On top of being active on Instagram, Wong runs a successful YouTube channel with over 100 thousand subscribers which give audiences a deeper look into her makeup and styling routines. 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tinawzq/

Why do you need to use KOLs in marketing?

Important KOLs are highly respected. In their fields, they are the authorities. They may readily sway talks in their profession since their followers hold them in high regard. This may have a significant impact on the brands they choose to partner with.

If a KOL positively mentions your brand, many view this as a positive endorsement of your product. Many KOL fans will choose to try your product, and if they enjoy it, they might start buying it frequently.

Imagine you manufacture sports vehicles. Many people will read an article about your flagship model if it receives a favorable review from a well-known automotive writer. Because of the review by that automotive journalist, a segment of this audience will choose to actively purchase your model.

KOLs can have an even stronger comparative impact if you produce a more affordable, widely used product, possibly with numerous competitors. Their endorsement may influence millions of individuals to choose your product over those of your rivals.

Working with key opinion leaders

Working with KOLs can help you and your products generate a lot of buzz. KOL marketing can a real winner for your brand. This is especially true when KOLs employ more creative approaches, such as hosting contests or engaging in activities like the TikTok Hashtag Challenge.

You benefit from an audience unified by interests if you choose the right KOL. Even if your product is excellent, you already know that many consumers will be uninterested in it if you advertise on television.

Similar to how many individuals will give your newspaper ad no more than a cursory glance, they wouldn’t even accept a free product offer. However, you will have a following of like-minded followers and fewer irrelevant people if you can collaborate with a KOL who impacts the kind of people interested in your product, you will be on a winning streak!

Final thoughts

In China, KOL marketing is extremely common. Chinese KOLs can be found in almost any industry. They are a surefire way to get more followers and reach your target market. They are especially common in subjects that promote instruction or direction. Millions of people follow some well-known KOLs as industry experts in domains of broad interest.

These KOLs have established themselves as subject matter authorities and are currently the preferred influencers in China.

If you want to engage a KOL in Hong Kong, please reach out to one of our digital strategists. We are familiar with leveraging KOLs to bring in huge revenue increases for your brand.

What else can help your KOL efforts succeed?

You can get more from your KOL efforts using some digital marketing tactics. There are many great ways to learn about digital marketing and combine it with your KOL execution. Here are some useful blog articles that we recommend you read:

For busy business owners, you may not have the time you need to the most out of your KOL efforts. If this is the case, we encourage you to review some of our strategic digital marketing services:

Of course, more than anything, we would love to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts. If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of our expert digital strategists. It is obligation free.


How does KOL benefit businesses?

A KOL can help build strong sales.

A KOL can help you promote a new product or increase brand recognition, increasing sales. So many consumers would follow an influencer’s advice. As such, it is obvious that a KOL might have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Why are influential people important?

Since people trust key opinion leaders, they can help attract clients who are really interested. A well-known character gives the impression that people know them personally and can trust their ideas. Even brand advocates for the business are possible for key opinion leaders.

How do you establish connections with KOLs?

It’s important to meet with KOLs in person since in-person interactions can strengthen a KOL’s loyalty to your business. Ensure that contacts and discussions are led by the proper employees in order to establish a respectful partnership.