As our daily lives continue to be ruled by smartphones, “influencers” infiltrate our social media feeds the way commercials punctuate television programmes, except now, on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, their success is measured in likes and views, leaving nothing to chance when a brand pays one of these key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote their wares for cash. While there is no shortage of KOLs in Asia, a select few have the kind of, well, influence, that can make or break a brand, and build profitable businesses for themselves in the process. In a year that has required a new level of remote engagement, ruling online has become goal number one for the 20 most powerful online influencers in East Asia. Austin Li It may seem odd that the “Lipstick King” is male but former beauty sales assistant Austin Li Jiaqi, 27, has earned the title, setting a Guinness record for “most lipstick applications in 30 seconds” by putting lipstick on four models in that time. His real talent, though, is sales. As one of Taobao’s top three live-streaming anchors, he has a proven ability to sell 15,000 lipsticks in five minutes, as well as lifestyle products and food, making him one of China’s richest and most successful KOLs. Mr Bags If you’re looking for a luxury handbag expert in China, Tao Liang, 28, is your guy. He started his blog Mr Bags in 2012, and quickly amassed millions of followers across digital platforms such as Weibo and WeChat, with in-depth articles and candid vlogs about which handbags to buy. In 2018, he famously helped Tod’s sell 3.2 million yuan (US$472,000) worth of bags on WeChat in six minutes and has also worked his magic for brands such as Givenchy, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Montblanc. Becky Li Otherwise known as “Mai Shen” – or “goddess of shopping” – Becky Li started out as an entertainment journalist at a Guangzhou-based newspaper until she realised blogging full time was far more lucrative. She has since become a trusted adviser to women on everything from fashion and beauty to cars. In 2017, she sold 100 Mini Cooper Countryman cars in five minutes on WeChat. She has an offline members club called “Fantasy Club,” and hosts free community events such as make-up and etiquette classes. In 2017, she debuted a ready-to-wear line of basics based on her personal style, which sold out within three hours. Han Huohuo Beijing-born Han Huohuo had a successful career in the fashion industry well before he became a social media darling. He worked as a stylist for major celebrities and international magazines such as Chinese Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan . Karl Lagerfeld referred to him as a “fashion icon”, and featured him in Chanel’s “Little Black Jacket” exhibition in 2013. His blog and social media accounts on Weibo and WeChat have brought him more fame, leading to high-profile collaborations such as designing a clothing line with retailer I.T and releasing two books about fashion and style. Gogoboi Known for his sharp tongue and snarky attitude, Shanghai-based Gogoboi, aka Thomas Ye Shi, 37, rose to fame via witty posts on Weibo dissecting fashion trends and celebrity style (he has one of the largest followings on Chinese social media, including Youku, China’s equivalent of YouTube). His growing popularity inspired him to open his own WeChat e-commerce boutique, through which he has launched limited-edition products with luxury brands and retailers such as Net-a-Porter, Farfetch and Harrods. In 2017, he even modelled in a Dolce & Gabbana show during Milan Fashion Week. More recently, he has been overseeing the talent agency he co-founded, Missionary, through which he represents and mentors other social media personalities. Anny Fan Former banker Anny Fan was part of the first generation of Chinese bloggers, launching her microblog back in 2010, featuring posts on her personal style. She started blogging full time in 2014 and has partnered with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Prada and Miu Miu, promoting them on her platforms and acting as a behind-the-scenes consultant. She is looking to extend her influence in the West, and recently signed with United States celebrity agency The Society. Yuwei Zhangzou Yuwei Zhangzou, aka Yuyu, started her blog as an MBA student in Paris in 2014. With her effortless style and international appeal – she speaks English, French and Mandarin – Yuyu was soon collaborating with French houses such as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Kenzo. Recognising a business opportunity, in 2018 she relocated to Shanghai, where she oversees a successful business that includes content creation and consulting with luxury retailers in China. Viya The popularity of live-stream apps in China has led to the rise of a new group of KOLs that includes Viya, 34. Armed with a laid-back attitude and charm, she has become one of the country’s most popular sellers with numbers to prove it – she draws in tens of millions of viewers each month and makes more profit in a day than some brands make in a year. The former shop owner and reality TV star is known for her talent in selling anything from cake to Kim Kardashian’s latest perfume, putting her in the big leagues, right up there with the Lipstick King. View this post on Instagram #Scarletthalo: Slay the look #slayallday : @janitaautio A post shared by SCARLETT HAO 郝思嘉NYC (@scarletthalo_) on Aug 7, 2020 at 2:32pm PDT Scarlett Hao Chinese-born plus-size influencer Scarlett Hao, 28, has lived in China, Germany and the US. Her unique perspective comes from her early days in PR, which gave her the tools to launch a career as a digital influencer. As a blogger and street-style star, she celebrates diversity and size inclusivity, and often appears on Chinese talk shows while partnering with a wide range of brands such as Macy’s, Asos and Lancôme. Amiaya Identical twins Ami and Aya, 31, are among Japan’s most popular influencers with their vibrant pink hair and flamboyant style. The duo were first noticed on the streets of Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood more than a decade ago and were soon landing modelling and DJing gigs, and designing their own fashion label, Joutie. Two years ago they began attending international fashion weeks, where they became instant street-style stars. To date they have worked with Fendi, Dior and Kenzo, both in Asia and abroad. Noah and Taiki Style influencers Taiki Takahashi and Noah Lee are partners in life and on social media. Japanese DJ and model Takahashi was already popular in Japan when he met Lee, who hails from South Korea, in 2015. It was not long before they caught the eye of Japanese street style photographers and were being courted to attend Dior, Prada and Louis Vuitton events. As one of the few openly gay influencer couples in Asia, they have amassed a loyal following across social media while raising awareness about same-sex couples in a conservative part of the world. Naomi Watanabe As one of a small group of plus-size influencers in Asia, comedian Naomi Watanabe, 32, has more than nine million followers on Instagram and rose to fame after videos of her lip-synching and dancing to songs by Beyoncé and Lady Gaga went viral. She has collaborated with brands such as Fendi and Kate Spade and has her own size-inclusive fashion label, Punyus. As a body-positive role model, she continues to challenge stereotypes about female beauty in Asia. Yoyo Cao Yoyo Cao, 31, is one of a select group of Asian influencers who has found success globally. Born in Macau and raised in Singapore, she spends most of her time flitting back and forth between the Lion City and Europe, where she collaborates with fashion and jewellery brands that include Gucci and Loewe. When she is not gracing the pages of magazines such as US Vogue , she oversees her website and YouTube channel, and designs her own womenswear brand, Exhibit. Mae Tan Netflix fans may recognise Singaporean Mae Tan as one of the stars of reality show Singapore Social . The 26-year-old is no stranger to public life: she filmed her first travel show aged 17, followed by several others on TLC and Discovery. She then became a creative consultant for hip Singapore boutique Surrender, which is known for under-the-radar labels. Armed with an enviable wardrobe and edgy style, her Instagram posts have made her one of Singapore’s biggest social media stars. View this post on Instagram A week in Paris with Bourdelle, Rodin and Callie. @bally #Graphicbynature #BallyCallie #BallyCollective A post shared by Kim Jones (@kimcamjones) on Mar 6, 2020 at 11:18pm PST Kim Cam Jones Kim Cam Jones, 33, may have grown up in Australia but it was in the Philippines that her career skyrocketed. The British-Filipino model started her eponymous website in 2011 to document her love for fashion, quickly became a magnet for brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger, and graced the covers of fashion magazines in Asia and beyond. She has collaborated with brands to design collections and hosted several TV shows. Her e-commerce website, The Fore, is a collaborative endeavour that aims to support independent designers. Liz Uy This stylish mum is a long-established “it girl”, and now a digital influencer in her own right. The former magazine assistant gained fame as an A-list stylist in the Philippines, but it was not long before she became a regular at international fashion weeks, leading to collaborations with Tod’s, Gucci and Jimmy Choo. Uy, 38, owns several businesses including Stylized Studio, which offers styling for commercial and editorial projects, and Mood Bake, a cookie company dedicated to her passion for baking. Irene Kim Instagrammer-turned-entrepreneur Irene Kim, 32, is up there with global influencers such as Italian Chiara Ferragni. The Korean-American was born in Seattle, studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and moved to Seoul to become a blogger and model. Her signature “good vibes” and unique style have earned her more than 1.8 million followers on Instagram, resulting in major deals with the likes of Estée Lauder and Calvin Klein. Last year she launched her own clothing and accessories brand, which is stocked by retailers such as Shopbop, Farfetch and I.T. View this post on Instagram “Clothe yourself with shyness and armour yourself with loyalty.” ♥️ feel so much comfort with this @pelangiasmara.id scarf in “Munawara” ♥️ A post shared by Dian Pelangi (@dianpelangi) on Jul 23, 2020 at 12:09am PDT Dian Pelangi As a role model for Muslim women around the world, Indonesian Dian Pelangi, 29, proves modesty in fashion is more than just a trend. After studying in Paris, she designed her first modest-wear collection at age 18 and continues to show at Jakarta Fashion Week. In 2012, she launched a book featuring street-style shots of Muslim women who have inspired her, and her unique style – cool prints and bold colours paired with a fashion-forward hijab – has led to a following on social media in the millions.