Xiaohongshu (also known as the Little Red Book or Red) is the Chinese app that has evolved into a revolutionary mix of social media and digital marketplace – something like a combination of Instagram and Ebay in one app.
Little Red Book has approximately 100 million active users where 86% of these users are female and 81% of them are under the age of 35 years old. Approximately 90% of these users are in the middle class and upper class consumer (source in Chinese) so hypothetically, there are mostly wealthy middle age ladies on the platform.
The users of Xiaohongshu are mostly demanding, they often research extensively for products and publish detailed feedback on their purchases, known as biji (notes). These are mostly written reviews, but sometimes also photos or videos.
Little Red Book users are mainly interested in products from the high-price segment. For foreign companies that their products have seen good reputation in China, Xiaohongshu offers special opportunities to attract more exposure and potential customers.
How did it all start?
The app was originally created as a social network for Chinese buyers traveling abroad to post recommendations about products they had purchased.
However, it soon became clear to the creators that only a fraction of users actually traveled abroad and many wished they could buy the products they saw on Xiaohongshu directly from there. The previously review and recommendation app was now turned into a Chinese online shopping app.
However, they still retained the features that attracted users right from the start; a dedicated community of buy-ready users and trusted user reviews. This made Xiaohongshu a place where users can learn more about the latest fashion and beauty trends.
Just like in WeChat, foreign companies can set up official accounts and online shops on Xiaohongshu. A local head office or a Chinese bank account is not necessary, but company documents such as a business registration documents and further credentials (depending on the type of product), must be submitted and verified.
In order to find your way around the user interface, open an account or to set up products, however, you need to have a knowledge of Chinese language – an English version of the app is not yet available.
Clear advantages over Tmall, JD or Wechat
For both small and big businesses, Xiaohongshu’s presence over Tmall, JD or Wechat has some advantages; there is lesser competitive pressure and also, financial requirements are lower.
This applies particularly to the use of influencers. Just as the case may be with the large e-commerce platforms, there is a broad spectrum here – from users with a few hundreds to tens of thousands of followers. For companies it is advisable to engage influencers with different ranges and to evaluate their performance regularly.
Whether Xixi or Anita – stars have long existed on the Little Red Book and this has become an integral part of their branding strategy. Beauty blogger Xixi began her activities on the platform after watching make-up tutorials on YouTube during her study visit to Canada.
Anita (account name: ” Anitafeeling “) is an influencer with over 83,000 followers and her own fashion brand. She has previously worked with brands such as Forevermark and Jo Malone and uses Xiaohongshu to share travel and dining experiences, skin care and makeup videos, and product reviews.
Understanding the Xiaohongshu users is important
Businesses should understand how consumers use Xiaohongshu. There are users who are looking for specific products, but also those who casually want to discover something new. In order to successfully address the various user groups, companies should rely on a mixture of their own content, influencer engagement and user-generated content.
Anyone who plans to enter the Chinese market as an entrepreneur must first of all create trust among the potential consumers and this can be done with tutorials, product comparisons and authentic reports on the advantages and disadvantages of a product.
The mix of social media and e-commerce as well as the limited but highly engaged community make Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) a worthwhile platform – not just for small business owners.