KOS… is a new type of Chinese influencer just born?

Updated: May 3

KOL, KOC, and now KOS, every day in China a new type of influencer born, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep track. The latest addition to the Chinese influencer marketing ecosystem is a product of Douyin. Let’s try to understand what it is, but first… let’s make a short summary of all the types of influencers that we have in the Chinese influencer marketing ecosystem.


KOLs (Key Opinion Leader)

have developed expertise on a topic and have created relationships with their audience over an extended period.


chinese kol

Daren (达人)

are very experienced and professional KOL. The term is born in 2019 and they are a group of influencers who are competent in a certain area, who have been online for a long time, and whose content is updated frequently. Daren often use video format.



Wanghong (网红)

become famous because of an internet presence, but their opinions may not necessarily be trusted as experts in relation to the products being hawked. The majority of Wanghong are famous for their appearance.

wanghong 网红

KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers)

are first of all consumers that decide themselves which product they want to try and review. The size of their audience does not matter for this type of influencer. In most cases, they do not have a large audience. However, since their expertise is to give reviews, their voices are more credible and readers actually refer to their reviews.


chinese koc

And now the latest entry of the group…


KOSs (Key Opinion Sales)

refer to strong content creators who have professional sales capabilities and a large amount of vertical industry and brand knowledge. The majority of them are offline counter sales personnel of a brand or the salespeople that are now doing the same but in a more novel and concise form. First-line retail employees with high-quality content creation capabilities.

The term is born thanks to Douyin that, on March 26th, together with the beauty brand, MAC launched the challenge/audition “KOS101”.

KOS 101 douyin tik tok mac

The event lasted for a whole month. The event reached cumulatively 500 million people, with more than 10,000 people participating in the event, 101 sales made it to the final, and 11 KOS were selected in the end as a team. On April 27th, on the night of the team formation, the contestants used a brand-new counter live streaming method, generating nearly 5.88 million RMB GMV in total.


kos influencer live streaming live sale taobao


Why is this the right moment for KOS?

Although the boom of e-commerce, the physical shopping experience in offline stores is different because we have a real impact on the product. Online, even if there are videos and pictures of the product, it’s not always easy to dispel the worries in consumers’ hearts.

Online consumers rely on others sharing their shopping experience, which is the foundation of KOL and KOC. On this basis, KOS goes one step further. The offline physical shopping experience cannot be moved online, but the professionalism of offline shopping guides can be demonstrated online.


expectation reality of online sale

Is this the end of KOL and KOC?

No. KOS greatly weakens the friend-like marketing of KOC and does not have the large-scale traffic blessings collected by KOLs, but it is more professional, more precise, and more vertical. A good strategy for brands is to integrate KOL, KOC, and KOS into the influencer marketing strategy.