Canada Markets open in 9 hrs 11 mins

Gucci Taps Xiao Zhan as Brand Ambassador to Boost Sales in China

·2 min read

Gucci is betting on popular Chinese actor Xiao Zhan to boost the brand’s awareness, and speed its growth once again. The brand’s sales in China remained below 2019 levels in the third quarter of 2021.

The Italian luxury house Friday welcomed Zhan to its family of ambassadors in China, alongside Chris Lee, Ni Ni and Lu Han. They are all considered among the most influential celebrities in the market. He was featured in a video on Gucci’s Instagram, promoting the brand’s tailoring pieces from Alessandro Michele’s latest collection.

More from WWD

“I am honored to be the face of Gucci. I have always admired Gucci’s vibrant design aesthetic and Michele’s romantic fashion language. I hope to collaborate more with the brand in the future, to explore the world of Gucci’s creative inspiration and to open up a multifaceted aesthetic dialogue,” the actor said.

With 29.6 million followers on Weibo, Zhan is a member of the Chinese boy group X Nine. He rose to fame in 2019 with his performance in the TV drama “The Untamed,” which is now available on Netflix worldwide.

The actor was at the center of a cyberbullying storm last year. A fanfiction, depicting a pedophilic female prostitute named after him in a sexual relationship with a minor named Wang Yibo, his costar in “The Untamed,” caused outrage among his fans. Some of his fans rallied like-minded people to report the fiction, resulting in the site hosting the novel Archive of Our Own being banned by China’s Great Firewall.

Xiao Zhan is Gucci’s latest brand ambassador.
Xiao Zhan is Gucci’s latest brand ambassador.

Simultaneously, the fanfiction created backlash against Zhan and drew on the intersections of cancel culture, homophobia, censorship, and reporting culture on social media in China, culminating in the cyberbullying of him. Consequently, Zhan lost many brand endorsements and was forced to issue an apology for the actions of his fans.

The actor laid low for over a year before he was appointed the face of Tod’s and Zenith in May and July, respectively, regaining momentum among luxury brands. He is also the face of JD.com, Li-Ning, Tencent Video and Budweiser.

Best of WWD

Sign up for WWD's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting