Ruhnn: Marketing Influencers

Chen Lin, Zhijing Cao

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


Feng Min, Sun Lei, and Li Shangzhen initially established Ruhnn as a Taobao brand called "LiBeilin". With the rapid development and growing integration of social platforms and e-commerce functionality, they partnered with fashion model Zhang Dayi to open an exclusive online private store. Following the store's promising debut, LiBeilin officially renamed itself Ruhnn and adopted an "influencers + incubator + supply chain" operating model. With its self-operated business, Ruhnn looked to optimize its model as the supply chain was too complicated and focus on influencer incubation and operations. It also brought in business partners to pursue monetization. Ruhnn's FY2021Q1 results indicated a dramatic surge in profitability, with the platform business becoming a significant driver of robust growth. In recent years, influencer marketing has exploded with a host of multi-channel networks (MCNs) mushrooming across China. Ruhnn faced a barrage of criticism for relying on Weibo despite declining commercialization. Ruhnn's management team faced several issues. Could influencer incubation be replicated at scale through institutional operations? How should Ruhnn empower influencers and better serve businesses with influencer marketing needs? Could the company's organizational structure keep up with the expanding influencer pool and business size?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

Update date



For more details, please visit

Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • strategic transformation
  • influencer marketing
  • marketing channel integration
  • MCN

Case studies discipline

  • Marketing
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Information, Media & Telecommunications
  • Retail Trade


Dive into the research topics of 'Ruhnn: Marketing Influencers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this