Hong Kong’s Top KOLs (Fitness & Entrepreneurs Edition) | 2019

Social media influencers have taken the internet by storm. From being spotted on entertainment events to collaborating with small to big brands—they have truly made a name for themselves. Also known as “thought leaders”, they can help brands increase awareness. With their legion of engaged followers, they are prized by brands.

In Hong Kong, we have seen a rise in the number of brands working with KOLs. Instead of celebrities, they chose influencers as ambassadors because of their real connection with their audience. Connection ignites curiosity among consumers—making them support the brands trusted by KOLs.

Fashion and beauty influencers are the most common type of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), but the term “KOL” is more than that. There are also other niches that’s becoming a trend you shouldn’t miss! Athletes and entrepreneurs are dominating a significant category in the influencer marketing industry. In this article, we rounded up our favorite sporty and business-minded KOLs you should follow right now!

Payal Shah (@payalia)

Payal Shah is the founder of the jewelry brand L’ Dezen. Her two sub brands The Jewel Thief, and OLY + PIE are renowned and has won several awards. Truly, Payal has a sharp eye on fashion and trends. Speaking of trends, the strong-willed entrepreneur has also put up The Ape Fund to invest on early stage founders and startups.

Aside from managing her own businesses, she is also one of the most followed social media influencers on Instagram.

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🍭🍭🍭 | 👗 @appapop

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With her colorful lifestyle and creative photos about travel escapades, OOTDs, and contents about veganism, she was able to attract a large following of 75,000+ and counting.


Q: What is an upcoming trend that you are most passionate about?

A: I think animal print is making a huge comeback. Sequence for winter. I am vegan and I know that is a massive trend as it is environmentally friends as well so good for your body. I am also looking forward to how AI and Blockchain is changing the way we proceed our daily life. These are all trends that will be important next year!


Gianni Melwani (@giannimelwani)

Gianni Melwani is the one of the main men behind 2 of Hong Kong’s biggest and most loved health & wellness events, IRIS: Your Escape and Spartan Race HK. His dedication to yoga and wellness has successfully influenced in making the city healthier, it’s no doubt that Gianni has an eye for creativity.

His contents about yoga, football, and arts is followed by many and has attracted a good amount of Instagram audiences.

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Throughout the month of November, I took part in a 21 day Sādhanā practice along with a very Sattvic group of people. Every morning we woke up and turned up without fail. Our mornings were spent deepening our understanding of Meditation along with unscripted back and forth philosophical discussions and Q&A with the teacher, similar to the ancient Guru Parampara system. 🧘🏽‍♂️ A consistent Sādhanā practiced with full involvement, one naturally becomes sensitive to life. You are able to see beyond surface level tendencies in yourself and others whether you’d like to or not. My perception increased, at times it was sensory overload, on other occasions I was able to get in to a “flow state” easily acomplishing a lot more without effort. 🧠 I was only informed by the end of the month that Oct 23-Nov 23 was a Kartik month, a time for deep purification and introspection. This was particularly interesting because without intention I noticed a lot of challenges that required addressing and removing things that did not serve me mentally, physically, emotionally, energetically. The aftermath is a feeling of lightness and strength.🔥 📸: @ilovevvbb during a sunrise session at the beach.☀️ #meditation #yoga #sadhana #kartikmonth #purification

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Gianni proves that a healthy mind, body, and spirit can strengthen one’s focus, making you more productive and strong. Follow him on Instagram for more updates!

Q: What is an upcoming trend that you are most passionate about?

A: The fast growth of the cannabis industry is something that is very interesting to me. It is refreshing to see how products and services derived from cannabis plants are showing positive medicinal, environmental and economic benefits in numerous markets.

Ben Quah (@quachee)

Ben Quah is definitely living the extraordinary life as he doesn’t just get to do the things that he love—he also has built a huge audience in which he can share his personal opinion and helpful insights.

His Instagram focuses more on his personal travels, gym-related contents and a few branded ones. Quah also mixes in a fair amount of men’s style and inspirational captions into his feed for added motivation for his followers.


Ifat Hindes (@ifathindes)

Talk about health & wellness in Hong Kong, no doubt Ifat is one of the most of the most trusted names. The wellness entrepreneur opened Choice Healthy Foods, a leading producer of gluten free breads and pastries. In her Project Wellness business, she also teaches cooking and offers advisory to those in need of a health makeover for both businesses and private individuals.

With awe-inspiring contents about personal lifestyle and being a health advocate that she is, Ifat has gained a sizeable amount of Instagram followers.

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@iris.hkg what an enjoyable #spiritual #journey this weekend 🙏🏻 we especially enjoyed @rosemary_vdb together with @natalie.soderstrom #vinyasa #flow with some #partner poses … it was so special connecting to my hubby in a way we both have never done before … one hour flew by so quickly, we supported each other, laughed a little and even at the end I cried … tears of joy! We are still in awe of how touching, meaningful and connecting the experience was … thank you ladies … with my heart 💓 truly lifting spiritually experience!! we've decided #datenight should begin with one of Rosemary's classes! Sets the perfect tone!! Do what makes you feel good, do what lifts you, be where the love is and surround yourself with that #positivevibes always 💓🙏🏻💓 thank you @urbaneneat for sharing these photos!! #ifatkafryhindes #love #life #thankful #blessed #yoga #yogahk #exercise #health #wellness #kindess #grateful #blessed #friendship #positive #energy #hongkong

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Q: What is an upcoming trend that you are most passionate about?

A: Am not sure about trends, but my evolving relationship with health and wellness is allowing me to heal from the inside out. For me mental health awareness is key for development in all areas of life. Education is key and owning our truth can only bring bigger better things in life. First we must work through our own issues, and I believe everyone has a degree of mental health inner awareness and truth they must go through. I see it growing trend on social media however, I hope it’s not just a trend, I hope it’s taken seriously and develops into wonderful changes across the board


Yip Pui Yin (@yippuiyin)

Yip Pui Yin is the manager behind Big Honor Entertainment, an innovative events and productions company in Hong Kong. Mariah Carey & John Legend are just two of the big stars that their company was able to bring in HK & Macao. Aside from her business, Yin also plays as a badminton player for the elite Hong Kong Badminton Team.

Despite the busy lifestyle, Yin never forgets to share the tiny bits to the huge successes of her life online, especially on Instagram. Yin’s connection with her audience is so strong. She is definitely an instagram influencer that knows how to touch and inspire people through delicate & personalised posts!

Looking for more inspirations? Check out these 3 top KOLs outside Hong Kong!


KOLs from other countries:

Cindy Lim (@zerohabits)

Cindy Lim is a Chinese-american KOL that is currently a student at Wharton Business School. What makes her different from other chinese influencers is that she is a world traveler, meaning she really takes her KOL journey seriously by giving out nothing but the best contents from different parts of the world.

In addition to that, due to her Chinese-american heritage, she has become an inspiration to her fellow Chinese-american dreamers as she advocates mainly on Asian culture.

Dude Perfect (@dudeperfect) 

Dude Perfect hails from United States of America. They are composed of five boys who promotes fitness in a fun and light way. If you search for workout tutorials online, majority of them are very serious and strict with the way they do the routines.

In Dude Perfect’s case, they wanted to make “workout” sessions light and bearable that is why they put a little bit of comedy to their online videos and images.

Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) 

Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect example of an athlete that is a mega influencer. His influence isn’t just wide, his love and appreciation to his fans is also what makes him likeable.

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Ready for tomorrow👌

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With over 148 million followers and counting, Ronaldo is arguably one of the most famous soccer players in the world. According to Forbes, he racked up nearly $1 billion in revenue, proving how truly influential he is.



With all the KOLs above, we can say that their power to entice and encourage the modern-day consumers can’t be dismissed. Whether you’re a small or big brand, it’s definitely high-time to leverage influencers for your campaigns as they can truly give you good value.