Platform Highlight: Xiaohongshu and Why You Need to Know it

3 mins read.

China is known for its plethora of social networking, e-commerce, user generated content (UGC) platforms. The usual suspects, WeChat, Weibo, Taobao, JD.com and Douyin, may top your list of consideration when entering the Chinese market, but these are not the only options you should explore. In fact, if your business is targeting Generation Z (those born after 1990) or Millennials with high consumption power, Xiaohongshu or RED is one powerful app to lookout for.

What is Xiaohongshu?

Xiaohongshu first started in 2013 as a small online community for young Chinese shoppers to share their cross-border shopping experience and product reviews through short videos and photos. Its slogan was “find good things abroad”. It grew into a platform where users actively shared their overseas shopping experience, their shopping haul and their personal decision process to finally commit to the purchase. This led to the birth of Xiaohongshu’s e-commerce arm because users were upset that they had no access.

Today, this app is valued at USD 3 billion with over 300 million accumulated users, and 85 million monthly active users (MAUs).

While its interface may look uncanny to the likes of Instagram, Xiaohongshu maps out an entirely different consumer journey for its users. The social and interaction element of Xiaohongshu requires little explanation and works largely similar to that of Instagram. From individuals like us to celebrities, one creates content and posts them on their respective accounts. The community can then like, share, and pin posts organically.

Target Users

Majority of Xiaohongshu’s users were born after 1990 (Generation Z).

As the site focuses on featuring quality products, they appeal to users who come from first tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen and thus have higher purchasing power. Specifically, more than 85% of Xiaohongshu’s users are females aged 20-35 years old who are attracted to the platform due to its focus on content like food, beauty and shopping.

Why You Need to Know Xiaohongshu

Xiaohongshu is pivotal for several reasons. Firstly, the Chinese are extremely connected to the internet and most are comfortable with making online purchases. Almost 70 per cent of Chinese are connected to the internet with 99.3 per cent of these internet users accessing the internet via their smartphones and platform apps. Out of the 904 millon who have access to the internet, 710 million of these users, or almost 80 per cent of them, readily shop online for their needs.

With readily available internet access, it is easy for Chinese internet users to browse through Xiaohongshu and make purchases with just a few clicks on their smart devices. For companies looking to break into China, it is highly recommended to focus on connecting with users via their smartphones.

Secondly, another key success factor for Xiaohongshu is due to its focus on having high quality and reliable content on its platform. Xiaohongshu online store has strict guidelines on only allowing official and licensed brands to list their goods. Their emphasis on only carrying reliable products appealed to the Chinese who used to face issues with low quality and counterfeit products that are often sold on China’s e-commerce space.

Finally, Xiaohongshu does not allow any form of self-advertising on its platform and most transactions rely on word of mouth marketing through users’ reviews. Companies looking to list on Xiaohongshu must therefore be ready to establish its brand and goods’ authenticity, manage customer relations and sales experiences in order to appeal to the community on the platform. 

Now that you have read our feature on Xiaohongshu, find out more about China’s top 5 livestreaming apps here.