Internet and media celebrities, known as Wang Hong, who were considered great influencers in marketing to the Chinese market, have disappeared. Beauty product manufacturers, which made every effort to secure Wang Hong with hundreds of thousands of online fans last year, have stopped their marketing campaigns due to the THAAD issue this year.
According to industry sources, there are no events inviting Wang Hong this year. AmorePacific Group, which had invited Wang Hong to promote its oriental herbal shampoo brand "Ryoe” until last year, has not had its marketing events for Wang Hong so far this year and has no plans for the events in the near future. LG Household & Health Care, which invited nine Wang Hongs to improve the brand awareness of its cosmetics brand “Sum” last year, will also not carry out any marketing campaigns for Wang Hong this year. The situation is very much the same with South Korean popular roadshop beauty brands such as It's skin, Tonymoly and Nature Republic.
Wang Hong, which abbreviates “Wang Luo Hong Ren” meaning online celebrity, has a great power of influence on Chinese online and social media users. It is same with South Korea’s power bloggers, Instagram celebs and popular YouTubers and has hundreds of thousands to millions of fans.
Wong Hong marketing campaigns have become useless because they have a poor marketing effectiveness as the relations between South Korea and China has become unstable due to the THAAD deployment issue. In fact, it costs at least 30 million won (US$26,350) to invite the A-level Wang Hong a day and 10 million won (US$8,783) to invite the C-level Wang Hong a day. Under the current circumstances, it is hard for South Korean companies to carry out Wang Hong marketing campaigns while paying such costs.
Wang Hongs are also limiting their promotions for South Korean cosmetics products due to oppositions from some Chinese consumers. An official from the industry said, “Ahead of the launch of our new brand, we tried to target the Chinese market with a popular Wong Hong. But, we are seeking for another plan as followers are now bombarding Wang Hongs, which sell South Korean brands, with abusive posts on Weibo.” Another industry official also said, “Wang Hongs themselves are also studying the pressure of the Chinese government and consumers and reluctant to promote South Korean brands due to the pressure.”