January 16, 2021

Influence Peddler: How China’s Zhang Dayi Out-earns Kim Kardashian

HANGZHOU — With long hair, fair skin and a sweet smile, Zhang Dayi seems like the ultimate girl next door. That is, if the girl next door was a multimillion-dollar business and one of Taobao’s biggest revenue drivers.
Zhang’s youthful looks and soft-spokenness belie the shrewd businesswoman she is — a quick online search of her name reveals how she became known across China for earning a reported $46 million last year. To put that into perspective, that’s more than double what top A-list actress and haute couture favorite Fan Bingbing pulled in, and just edges out Forbes’ estimate of Kim Kardashian’s $45.5 million earnings.
Even before she opened up her fashion store, Zhang had garnered a following of 200,000 people thanks to a modeling career which spanned eight years. But she traded that in for designing apparel — mostly affordable, feminine and flirty styles — launching her first Taobao store in summer 2014. Unlike most key opinion leaders (KOLs) in the West who rely on a cut of sales made from affiliate links to earn their money, Zhang is able to sweep up and keep a lion’s share of the money she generates thanks to her own line that’s produced in-house.
Zhang appeared

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