With higher occurrences of investment toward a younger generation, over 10 million post-90s generations jump on the bandwagon to do public equity fund investment experiencing large gains and heavy losses in the past few months. As most reviews from them, the majority of these beginners would follow fund managers blindly or non-certified financial KOLs in fund investment because the fans culture stepped into the fund market recently causing an uproar.

  • 16 weibo accounts are established by Zhang Kun’s fans from different areas
  • 47 Chaohua in weibo gained heated discussions related Zhang Kun’s representative funds
  • Zhang Kun‘s annualized rate of return is up to 38% in the past 5 year

On January 25, 2021, the mixed net value of E Fund Blue Chip Selected by Zhang Kun soared by 5.05%. Since the great amount of increase, netizens established fan clubs and Chaohua for Zhang Kun spontaneously. Its fan clubs “E Fund-iKun Global Fans Club (易方达张坤全球后援会)” had 20,888 followers with 574 posts and 27,388 followers with 1640 posts respectively. On February 2, its Chaohua gained nearly 10,000 followers with 19,196 million views. It’s his great estimation that pushed Zhang Kun to become the top in 100 billion fund circle and was honored to be the “Public Offering Top Brother” by the industry.


E Fund-iKun Global Fans Club


Link to Weibo »


E Fund-iKun Global Fans Club


Link to Weibo »


E Fund Zhang Kun ikun


Link to Weibo »


E Fund Fund Manager-Zhang Kun


Link to Weibo »

“Public Offering Top Brother”

Zhang Kun

After the news was widely spread out, numerous netizens admired him extremely and considered he would be the idol in their mind so whatever he said would be followed blindly. There are various emoji and promoted banners are generated to show their worship to Zhang Kun, which aroused people's attention and attracted them to do the investment on E Fund Blue Chip.

  • 01 Interpretation of online fanchant

    “Kun Kun bravely fly, iKun will always follow. Kun Kun is not old, the blue chip is old.”


    “Guard the best Kun Kun in the world!”


    Numerous emojis attached to the Zhang Kun icon and netizens used Cai Xukun’s slogan and its name to label Zhang Kun as Ikun. In online fanchant, netizens utilize reiterative locution and the effect of hyperbole to show their admiration and loyalty to Zhang Kun. Also, there are numerous heart emojis and exaggerated colors to attract people’s attention. Under the culture of fans club and witty wording, Zhang Kun became an idol in the fund circle and attracted numerous crazy fans including beginner and original investing people to invest in E Fund Blue Chip.

  • In the early morning of January 27, E Fund issued an announcement that since the large purchase quota of “E Fund Blue Chip Selected Hybrid” has been adjusted from the original 100,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan, budge was limited so people cannot purchase as much as they want because of overwhelming investment.

  • It is worth noting that Zhang Kun’s current total fund assets amount to 125.509 billion yuan and his annualized rate of return is up to 38% in the past 5 years. Zhang Kun was entitled as the first fund manager in the history of public funds and his representative active equity funds exceeding 100 billion yuan.

Fan Culture

Fan Culture in the fund market

Referring to the fans' culture in the fund market, we need to interpret what is the fans' circle in our society. Peng Lan, a professor in Renmin University of China, pointed out her perspective in her book “User research in new media” in 2020. She considers fan circle refers to the community formed by fans with a certain idol. In reality, different fan circles will be separated by different idols, and the boundary between each other is clear, and some conflicts happen sometimes.

In 2014, the intervention of the Internet and the maturity of big data algorithms have further changed the pattern of China's idol industry. "Traffic stars (celebrities with huge fan bases)" are the favorite community of film and television industry and commercial capital so they are widely known by the public. Since the big data algorithms have been applied to the fan community so the object of fanatics has been extended from celebrities to animals, plants, virtual idols, etc. Thus, everything can be admired to attract people to group fans community, which has become another mainstream in fans culture.

Since the social features of the new media not only enhance the unity and exclusivity within the fan circle but also make it possible for fans to communicate and connect. So there is a group of young people suddenly starting to invest funds and highly engaged into fund communities. Why this circumstance would happen is because the community can bring a sense of identity for most fans and they can be affirmed by the community. Also, mainstream culture is easy to be spread out by social media so people will accept subcultural groups and generate a cultural phenomenon accordingly.


Analytics of fund investors in china

According to the MobTech data, the number of fund investors remains steady but it has a sharp increase at the beginning of 2020. From January to June, it gained almost 21 million new investors within a short period. From this massive group, those who are aged between 18 to 34 in approximately 44% so the post-90s generation is the key group for fund investment, which can find the trend of investment is getting younger recently with the reason of bandwagon effect on fund information.

In order to know the detailed reasons why most post-90s generation tends to do the fund investment, I did a research questionnaire to collect 240 students’ data and we found the majority of post-90s generation would invest part of deposit into funds but most of them don’t have any related experiences or they are just beginners in the fund market.

From the above bar chart, it’s easy to find there are those who without any fund investment experiences and the beginning of fund investment count around 38% and 54% respectively. The reason why they don’t know the fund market but still do the investment is that most friends are doing this, so they also jump on the bandwagon to imitate even they cannot bear the risk. Also, there are 54% of fund beginners also stick into investing funds as their sideline production. Referring to why they will choose the fund market is because the risk of the fund market is less risky than the stock. And most of them are affected by social media and surrounding friends because that would be a heated topic for them when they are gathering. For another reason, over 50% of people in this group also consider wealth management are getting essential recently so they will start to learn some related knowledge. There are just 8% post-90s generation in my research considering they are professional in this field because of their major or existing work. There is no doubt that over 90% are new investors in my research, which can indicate the popular social trend recently.

Jiaxin Lu

Fresh graduated student

I just started to do the fund investment last month with 500 yuan and I haven’t studied the related knowledge before. Why I will do the investment is because there are numerous funds information widely shown on social media and some friends will discuss the funds market in my group chat so I also put some money into it and see whether I can also earn some money from fund investment or not.

Luna Wang

Postgraduate student

Why I want to do the investment in the fund market is because I have some spare money after my graduation. So, I asked the help from my parents and they gave me a list of fund managers to seek the help. Thus, I will browse on various social media to compare the information and even follow an investment discussing group on Douban. I found most of the suggestions focus on the sectors of technology, Baijiu and medical treatment so I found one fund manager related technology sector to do the automatic investment plan. To be honest, I found their prediction is quite accurate and I can earn some money from the fund market so I would choose to believe their suggestion because of their profession and famous recognition.

Reason of why investors distrust fund managers

The fund obsession is the financial anxiety among young people. Since the pandemic has a serious impact on the global economy, many people are still facing the risk of unemployment such as "layoffs" and "company lockdown", and the rising housing prices, etc. would weaken young people's confidence in the future. From the above chart, it’s easy to find the unemployment rate sharply increased in March 2020 from 5.2% to 6.2% and it remains at a high level for half a year so the majority of young people are forced to find methods to beat inflation. In my research, 50% people just start to study fund investment in less than one year in the funding investment group. And most of them just invest less than 1,000 yuan in fund investment to test their performance and start to learn the knowledge of funds gradually.

There is an increasing number of fund beginners generated recently because the fund market is profitable, and the global economy is sharply affected by the pandemic. Also, there are numerous news and social topics related to this field so the majority of them are curious to learn how to earn some money by their sideline production and utilize this chance to join some hit social topics.

"Would rather be cheated by others, do not want the fund to become green", this famous sentence is widely spread out these days, which can easily show the urgency of people pursuing to earn money from the fund market. At the same time, there are various discussion groups, life groups, financial groups, and even the gossip group discussing how to manage money, what funds are deserved to buy. Those topics trigger a heated debate on various social media like the Red, Douban, Zhihu, Weibo, etc.

“韭零后” in Chinese has homophonic pun with the term of post-90s generation This term specifically means the post-90s generation lose the amount of money because of their funds taking a nosedive, which is likely played for suckers.

Culture Differences

Differences of fans culture between entertainers and fund managers

Recently, the issue of fund manager Zhangkun triggered a heated discussion and an increasing number of fund managers are gradually admired by investors. But those who are mainly post-90s generation and spontaneously created numerous fan groups for their admiring fund managers, which raised a controversial topic surrounding social media. But what are the differences of fans culture between entertainers and fund managers in our interpretation, we will discuss detailly in the following content.

Referring to the traditional fans culture in entertainers, it means people have their admiring target with specific reasons including celebrities’ talent, appearance, or performance on the stage. In the past, most people chasing celebrities or bands were to buy an album or watch a concert. They were basically individuals without any community. In recent years, with the development of social media, the idol economy has been developing continuously so there are numerous chasing ways generated, such as buying peripheral products for the idol, renting advertising space for celebrities, voting, and doing charity activities. Nowadays, there are various discussing groups or Chaohua are formed spontaneously, which are organized and professional on social media. But the purpose of fans is to gain satisfaction and happiness via their behaviors instead of quantitative results.

Oppositely, the main difference of fans culture in fund managers is the purpose which is providing precise advice to help them earn profit from the fund market. The main differences of shining points between celebrities and fund managers is that celebrities utilizing their appearance, unique talent like singing, dancing, etc. to attract people but fund managers just utilize their precise and accurate prediction toward the fund market and help people to earn money from fund investment, which can gain a quantitative result for people. Thus, people are willing to create various discussing groups on social media to gain more attention and show how great and professional the specific fund managers are.

Netizens’ attitudes on fans culture toward fund managers

People’s attitudes on fund managers jumping into fan culture are various. The massive group of non-fund investors consider every kind of fan culture needs to be banned because it’s the appearance of people following specific things blindly. However, those who would invest the funds have enlightened views on this phenomenon because part of them consider fund managers can provide cutting-edge opinion on investment and the other part consider each industry has their authority to make brand building, which holds the neutral perspective. Also, we cannot avoid the fact that few people are quite sensitive to fan culture because of their defense mechanism. They will consider it’s a product of the Internet celebrity era and is not conducive to the normal management operations of fund managers. Thus, there is a big contract between the non-investors and investors with different interpretations on the functions and branding mechanism of fund managers.

Since numerous biased comments are shown online, a questionnaire was conducted to investigate the fund investment behaviors of post-90s generations and study their opinions on the issue of fund managers turning into idols. The target respondents are mainly undergraduate or postgraduate students from mainland china because they are most familiar with the issue of Zhang Kun and keen on doing fund investment in daily. I generated my questionnaire from Qualtrics and spread it out via WeChat, Zhihu, and student clubs from Hong Kong Baptist University and Zhongnan University of Economics and Law within two months. The questionnaire is mainly separated into three parts including personal information, fund investment behaviors questions, and the reliability of fund managers to study the investing behaviors toward the post-90s generation. It's an honor that I received 245 respondents in total and over 90% of respondents are post-90s generations, which is highly effective and valid data for my research topic. The data from the following infographics would be elaborated by my research questionnaire.

From my research questionnaire, just 6% of people consider they completely believed the suggestions from fund managers but the majority of post-90s generation preserved an attitude of neutrality, which covers 76%. There are around 18% of people who are strong against having faith in fund managers, which shows people are implacably opposed to the fan culture stepping into fund managers. But I also stepped into different groups of people to invest their different attitudes on fund managers’ branding.

Definitely, there are a massive group of netizens holding an opposite attitude toward this issue because they consider it just a bandwagon effect within numerous netizens. The majority of them consider fund investment as their own business, it would be more based on our own knowledge to operate it instead of fund managers and their advice is subjective and contains bias, which would affect us to make the decisions. Apart from that, their positive performance is not creditable enough because it may fabricate the data to attract people on their suggested funds and build up their brand image accordingly. There are some negative comments shown on Weibo that’s fan culture stepping into the fund industry would disturb the financial market because of their subjective branding. Rather than insisting on the prediction from fund managers, investors should gain more financial knowledge by themselves to operate their own business.

However, we cannot deny that an increasing number of people hold the natural attitude on this issue because each one has their profession and credential in their specific industry. 128 people will partially trust fund managers to utilize their advice as references because 70% of them are just beginners and they need professional suggestions to help them make the judgment. Although investment is our own business, around 30% of people affirmed the performance shown online gained correct and precise prediction, and fund managers are subordinated by professional institutions. It’s no doubt that the public offering of fund managers is under a specific company and privately offered fund managers would be supervised by the government, which is reliable and authentic.


Different perspectives of fan culture on fund managers

Mr. Lai

Marketing manager in a medium-scale fund company

The neutral attitude toward this issue because proper personal branding to profit other investors is not a bad thing. For its shortcoming on this issue, it will come up with the bandwagon effect that if the prediction performs well, a massive group of netizens flocks to invest the suggested funds and praise the specific fund manager accordingly on social media. However, if the prediction is on the decreasing trend, netizens will complain about the profession and credentials of fund managers on the internet, which is a superposition principle. Apart from that, when the fund market crossed a dip recently, there are series of irrational behaviors occurred including hurl abuse, liquidation, and dumping, etc., which is an ordeal for fund managers on resisting the pressure of public opinion. Apart from that, branding is an essential step to promote financial products if it executes in a proper method.

Ms. Chen

The Vice-President of LiDe fund company in Nanjing

Our fund limited provided a professional job title for us, which presents our profession and credentials. This title can energize Weibo because netizens can easily find knowledge of wealth management. After that, those who via Weibo find my profile can energize my business, which is an effective circulation. Since fund managers just make good use of their profession to sell their business and build up their branding, those chaotic phenomena are generated by a massive group of netizens because of their limited knowledge and bandwagon effect.

Qian Xiaoyu

Vice General Manager in Infore Capital

From my own perspective, gathering fan communities is reasonable and acceptable nowadays with the development of social media. The most essential for us to investigate the incentives of why they would gather together and what factors they are most concentrated on. Since Warren Edward Buffett and Charles Thomas Munger also have their community because of their advanced profession, it’s reasonable for netizens to admire their fund managers and express their opinion online. But we need to notice if fans just focus on the short-term performance, then it would just be a group of rabble, which will affect the fund market someday.

Luna Wang

Postgraduate student

Fund managers stepping into fan culture is acceptable because she considered personal/product branding is reasonable and efficient. And fund managers utilize their investment suggestions as unique selling points, which is better than celebrities. However, I would still not follow the trendy funds to invest because there is much information, and the market segmentation is subdivided detailly. If the company wants to promote a product, they will invest lots of campaigns to promote it so we cannot define its original reason behind the publicity. Thus, I cannot define the purpose of branding a fund manager is good or not and I will not follow their suggestions on my investment.

Fund Managers Differences

Differences between the public offering of fund managers & privately offered fund managers

Public offering Funds

Privately Offered funds


A category of securities investment funds that are supervised by government authorities and issue benefit certificates to non-specific investors.

A category of funds that are not publicly offered to investors, nor traded on stock exchanges but just raise money from a limited number of specific targets.


1. To a large number of investors as the issue object
2. High potential for fundraising
3. Investing by a large range of investors (investors without specific target)
4. It can apply for listing in the stock exchange
5. Information are open to public and transparent

1. Investment objectives are more targeted and better suited to the specific investment requirements of their clients.
2. The government's regulation of private funds is relatively loose, so the investment methods of private funds are more flexible.
3. Investment is more private and less likely to be tracked by the market, and their returns may be higher.

Promotion Channel

1. Bank and Securities Company
2. Trust Company and Insurance Company
3. Online Finance Platform

1. Social Media
2. Private equity product sales agencies
3. Bank and Securities Company

From the above chart, we can find the difference between the public offering of fund managers & privately offered fund managers on their operation and promotion channels. The marketing manager, Mr. Lai said that the public offering fund company has a strict management system, and all published promotional materials need to be reviewed by China Securities Regulatory Commission. For official promotion, we will just post via banks, financial institutions, Alipay, Tiantian Fund Distribution, etc. instead of social media. Besides, we will not encourage fund managers to open their personal promotion account like Wechat official account, Weibo, the Red, etc. If they want to do that, their subordinated company needs to review their content before they publish.

For the privately offered fund managers, they will less be tracked by the market because their funds are not public offering to investors, nor traded on stock exchanges but it just raises money from a limited number of specific targets. Thus, they would have various personal branding on social media like Weibo, Wechat official account. The Vice-President of LiDe fund company, Ms. Chen most publicly offered fund managers just post some daily routine or repost fund-related content to show their presence, which can arouse people's attention to know this fund manager. When they need to find fund-related content, they will be reminded of it automatically. For example, Dan Bing, a famous public offering fund manager with 13.9 million followers on Weibo, would be the lead of his own company and there are numerous investors help him to analyze the fund market to present to the public so he would have a large amount of time to update his Weibo and branding himself. It holds a high exposure rate and engagement rate on its Weibo and generates average of 15 posts every day.

Dan Bing's weibo data are shown in the following box from 2021.03.21 to 04.19

The Number of Post

⬆️ 87.11%

Average Number of View

⬆️ 101.77%

Average Number of Like

⬆️ 92.35%

Average Number of Comment

⬆️ 96.43%

Weibo 1

Translation in +

Weibo 2

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Weibo 3

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Regulatory Issues

Whether the fans culture stepping into fund managers need to be supervised or not

【Translation】 Cai Xiangyang from China asset management limited, Sun Fang from China international fund management limited, Li Xingyong from Maxwealth fund management limited are already confirmed to participate. GF fund management limited highly proposes Fu Youxing to join. Each fund management limited is evaluating the participation in “Day Day Up” but Zhang Kun from E fund, Hou Hao from China Merchants Fund Management limited, Liu Yanchun from Invesco Great Wall Fund Management limited, Ge Lan from Lombarda China Fund Management Limited are confirmed to participate in “Day Day Up”. The committee said they will choose four fund managers from the confirmed list to group a fund managers team. >

On 2 March 2021, a screenshot was widely spread out online, which is a message about 7 fund managers who were invited to the entertainment show “Day Day Up” and it also said the committee will select four fund managers to participate in the show. Several companies mentioned they did receive offers and the committee did contact them directly. But most companies rejected this invitation after showing gratitude to reduce strongly criticized from the media and finance industry.

After the issue spreading out, the Asset Management Association of China released an article a few hours later about how to do the promotion on the industry of public offering funds. It explicitly mentioned that publicly offered fund institutions should focus on their profession and original values, the investment and education publicity activities should be operated strictly under the government regulations. All institutions cannot participate in activities related to entertainment". It’s obvious that the regulators are dissatisfied with the excessive entertainment in the fund industry, which will disturb the finance market.

【Translation】 With institutional support, environmental cultivation, joint efforts of the industry, and the trust of various investors, the public offering fund industry has developed steadily and optimized in recent years. Since the public offering funds perform greatly on its functions and financial management. By the end of 2020, the number of public fund management institutions had grown to 146, operating 7,913 public funds with a total management scale of 19.89 trillion yuan. Since 2005, the average annualized return rate of stock funds is 17.04%, it brings long-term and steady returns for investors, and makes contributions to the fund market. At the same time, the public offering fund industry actively carries out educational and publicity work in various forms to guide the society to establish a correct concept of wealth management and create a good financial cultural atmosphere. To better assume the social responsibility, our association issues the following proposals to the public offering fund managers: >

View the Full Article >>

In our traditional ideology, there is no doubt that the financial industry is professional and quantifiable so it’s odd to mix with marketing promotion. Why marketing in the traditional finance market seems not essential in the past is because just few products existing in the traditional fund industry and most products would be promoted by banks so it does not face fierce market competition. But there is an opposite situation that over 7500 funds existing in the market and each fund contains its characteristics within different industries, which is an inter-industry competition and difficult to stand out among 7500 funds. Thus, an increasing number of funds would be branding and promoted to retail investors and various overwhelming publicity are spreading out recently.

Details data in Fund Markrt >>

Why the fan culture will step into the fund market recently is because the homogenization exists in the fund market and each fund will imitate others including marketing strategy, branding methods, etc. There are over 137 funds that gained a great performance on their annualized rate of return so it’s difficult for investors to distinguish which fund performs better just according to its data. So people tend to seek help from fund managers based on their various branding personalities. But we need to realize the accuracy of prediction from fund managers is not 100% and they cannot guarantee to achieve perfection every time so those who can be the top 25% of fund managers are fabulous enough and investors need to contain some knowledge related funds to distinguish what product can return greatly instead of believing online promotion blindly.

As Mr. Lai working in public offering funds mentioned that those fan communities online are just investors showing their admiration and loyalty to specific fund managers instead of representing the profession or credential of fund managers. From the perspective of the fund industry, the public offering of fund managers has strict regulation on their personal branding so those existing accounts are generated by their fans because of the credential and profession. Thus, the data and comments online are subjective and biased. But for the privately offering fund managers tend to promote on social media to build up branding and sell their product, which would be looser. Since branding is reasonable and beneficial nowadays and it can gather more social announcements, if the content is under financial regulation without misinformation, then fan culture toward fund managers can be allowed.

But for the public investors, over 77% of people would partially believe fund managers because the majority of us are not professional enough to predict the fund markets and have no time to investigate the trend so fund managers can assist them to do that. However, they are clear that fund managers are not the god to predict accurately every time so gaining financial knowledge is essential for investors to supervise their own investment.

As Ms. Chen working in LiDe fund company believed each industry needs to be marketing but it should be supervised by related institutions or the government. The core function of marketing is to help consumers find the products they need. If over-marketing or even cheats consumers into buying products, it should be regulated because false marketing and misleading investment would not be allowed in the fund industry. If not, fan culture toward fund managers can be accepted by the public because of their profession and credential in the fund market.