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Xiaohongshu (Red Book): introduction

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24 septiembre, 2019
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Have you ever heard about Xiaohongshu?

Which e-commerce platform would you first consider for your online business when entering the Chinese market?

Becoming one of the fastest-growing social e-commerce apps in China, Xiaohongshu is winning over the hearts of young Chinese users. In fact, if your business is targeting Generation Z or Millennials; or selling FMCG, fashion and beauty-related products, this is an app you must keep your eyes on.

And not only this, Tourism is a growing part of the app

How Does Xiaohongshu Work

No matter how familiar the app’s interface looks to you, Xiaohongshu is different. This is simply because the app offers many features and functions in one app and because they create a completely different consumer decision journey.

Xiaohongshu, at a glance, looks like Instagram and Pinterest but functions more like web portals (cross-functional platform), meaning that the app works as a launching point to enter the online world to do browsing, searching, socializing, and shopping altogether. Therefore, the young Chinese go on Xiaohongshu multiple times per day whether to buy the trendiest red lipstick, check out a review of new snacks or see friend’s updated social feeds.


Nicknamed as the Chinese-version of Instagram and Pinterest, Xiaohongshu offers similar social media functions. From individuals to celebrities, one can create content and post them on its social account, and can also like, share, and pin posts. It is no exception for brands too. Verified brands can manage an official brand account to promote their brands and engage with customers. Xiaohongshu is also a popular and effective place for influencer marketing in China.



Like portal sites, Xiaohongshu provides browsing function, allowing users to get exposed to trending search words and hot topics so they could linger inside the platform by randomly checking them out. Users can also search for information just like search engines using various forms of tags.

(We have to tell you a secret, 90% of our Chinese team use Xiaohongshu during trips)

How Should Travel Brands Use Xiaohongshu?

Xiaohongshu for travel

To be clear, Xiaohongshu is and always has been a shopping app, with e-commerce sellers galore and billions of user reviews of clothing, cosmetics and other items. At the start, Xiaohongshu focused on overseas products, with tips on buying those products online in China, as well as shopping abroad.

The focus of Xiaohongshu is still product recommendations and shopping, especially for cosmetics. But now, travel bloggers have also joined the platform, and users may post photos of themselves traveling abroad, or recommendations for restaurants and hotels. A lifestyle app as well as an e-commerce one, it’s a good place for users show off their travels, as well as their purchases.


Identifying its business as a social «e-commerce» platform, Xiaohongshu operates an online store within the app and there are largely two types of stores. One that is self-operated by Xiaohongshu and the other that is operated by registered brands. Xiaohongshu works as a middleman for brands that are not sizable enough to manage online stores and sell selected goods to its customers.


The tagging culture of Xiaohongshu is another big merit that keeps the users inside the platform. Here, users not only use hashtags but also tags of (store) location, brand, product, movie/ tv series, and other users’ accounts.


Celebrating its 6th anniversary this year, Xiaohongshu announced that its registered users are now more than 250 million and monthly active users are 85 million.

In addition, around 90% of its users are women with high purchasing power, especially those who believe quality is important


What is the meaning of “Xiaohongshu” brand name

Xiaohongshu, as pronounced, stands for three Chinese characters which are 小 (xiao), 红 (hong) and 书 (shu). When translated it means “the Little Red Book” and it’s sometimes referred to as the «RED» app, but the brand name can imply many different meanings in China.

In Chinese history, the Little Red Book is also known as Mao’s Little Red Book. It was a pocket-sized red book that included famous speeches and writings from Chairman Mao Zedong. The books were distributed by the government during the Cultural Revolution in China to spread the key ideology and all people during the time were legally obliged to carry with them. Though this political history likely has no connection with the current brand name, however, the familiarity of “The Little Red Book” for the Chinese may have helped the brand to easily build brand awareness.

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