How Fitness and Wellness Brands Use Short Video for Marketing in China

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

China is seeing rapid growth in short video content thanks to the increasing popularity of short video apps like Kuaishou, Miaopai and Douyin.. Last year in China there were an estimate 242 million viewers of short videos. By the end of 2018, the number is forecasted to reach 353 million, which is more than the size of U.S. population.   

In the U.S. fitness and wellness industry, video content has proven to be one of the most effective marketing tools to engage with viewers and convert them to consumers. Many sport supplement brands have YouTube channels where they put out professionally produced and edited workout videos, athlete lifestyle stories, and educational content for their products. Professional athletes and fitness celebrities also use Instagram short videos to record their exercise moves, healthy meals and share their fitness tips with their followers. Since fitness is a visual business, videos helps to amplify a brand’s message and deliver it in a way viewers are accustomed to consuming it.

As more international wellness and fitness brands seek opportunities in the Chinese market, the challenge is how they can break in, stand out and grow their digital market presence. Leveraging the short video trend can put your brand on the fast track to success.

How to choose the right platforms?

There are many video platforms focusing on different types of content and targeting different demographics. It’s vital for brands and marketers to have an overall marketing strategy before choosing specific platforms.

Long form video platforms

Before the introduction of short video apps, the most popular long-form Chinese video platforms are Tencent Video and Youku. They are very similar to YouTube, where viewers watch professionally produced content created by filmmakers, marketers and videographers. For sport nutrition brands that have already created high quality YouTube videos in English, it is advisable to find a professional marketing agency in China to have them translated and uploaded to Tencent and Youku. Marketers can create channels to build a subscriber base. The long-form videos can be used to create short clips for short video apps, which is more cost-efficient.  


Douyin ( also known as Tik Tok) is the most popular short video app among Gen Z consumers in China. The integrated editing tool enable users to create high quality videos. Users can also access e-commerce platforms such as Taobao to directly purchase products the video promotes. Many internet influencers and celebrities capitalize on the opportunities to charge high sponsorship fees to promote products and services, which has helped to spur high sales volume within a short period of time as a result of the KOL ( Key Opinion Leaders)  collaboration.


KuaiShou is a Beijing-based video sharing and live streaming platform, backed by the Chinese internet giant Tencent. If you don’t know, Tencent is the parent company of WeChat, the most popular social media app in China with over 1 billion active users worldwide. KuaiShou built its popularity from stunt and prank videos created by users. The majority of KuaiShou’s users are from China’s smaller third-tier cities, with a lot of user generated content featuring China's rural areas. KuaiShou is currently valued around 18 million dollars and expected to go public in Hong Kong.

XiaoHongShu ( Little Red Book )

XiaoHongShu technically is a social cross-border e-commerce platform targeting young, affluent female shoppers who prefer buying products from overseas. Many internet influencers use its short video function to sell products. Since 88% of its users are female who are mainly from top tier cities in China, the platform is ideal for premium health and wellness international brands targeting female consumers. To launch a KOL campaign, the platform usually charges 15%-20% of the sales, in addition to sponsorship fee charged by KOLs. The platform’s unique well-targeted clientele make it an option brands can’t afford to miss.

How to Use short videos to Market Your Brand and Products

Brands and marketers can work with brand ambassadors and KOLs to create short videos featuring the brand’s logo or products, which help to build brand awareness and drive online sales to e-commerce platforms like Tmall and As sport supplements are yet to become everyday commodity products,  finding the right fitness ambassadors and KOLs can help to reach your target audience more cost-efficiently.

Brands can also launch marketing campaigns on short video platforms by inviting followers and users to create their own videos and provide product reviews. For example, marketers can send out protein samples to consumers and have them record their taste testing feedback. They can offer product prizes to incentivize user generated content.

Influencer promotes Nutrend Liquid L-Carnitine

The cosmetics industry has already seen commercial success with live streaming videos of makeup tutorials to promote brands and interact with consumers. Health and nutrition brands, for example, can work with their ambassadors to live-stream workout sessions with the ambassador taking BCAA or hydration products during the session. Ecommerce giants like Tmall and JD also have live streaming features to convert viewers to instant buyers. It functions as a “ see now, buy now “ platform, For brands that have already established stores on these eCommerce channels, it’s important  to have video marketing strategies and work with distributors to maximize the sales potential on these platforms.


Since fitness is a visual industry, health and wellness brands and marketers have an intrinsic advantage using short-videos to delivery brand messages and engage with followers and consumers. Even though China is a challenging market because of cultural and language barriers, not to mention strict state censorship on popular US social media platforms, brands and marketers can leverage short videos to communicate brands’ stories and build awareness more efficiently. With built in purchase functions and features, viewers can be converted to buyers quickly. If your brand already has video content  and marketing material on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, don’t wait to work out a marketing strategy in China and have the video content generate sales for your brand.

What to learn more about sport nutrition marketing solutions in China? Contact Tiger Social for a free consultation.