What is Little Red Book and how it works in China 2024


Little Red Book, also known as Xiaohongshu, is one of the fastest growing social commerce apps on the market. It has more than 100 million active users on its platform.

This social network offers opportunities for international brands to exploit their potential and build a strong presence in China. This is why brands like Louis Vuitton and YSL are promoting themselves on the platform. It is an indispensable marketing channel for companies in the constantly evolving Chinese digital landscape.

Social media recommending and sharing advice are the primary ways Chinese consumers discover new products and decide on purchases. Intact, social platforms like this are a key means of sharing and researching products to buy.

Consumers follow themed groups and so-called Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for product ideas and insights. That's why Little Red Book has stood out in recent years, fueling this new way of Chinese social media marketing.

The evolution of the platform

Little Red Book was founded by Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao in 2013 as an online guide for shoppers, providing users with a platform to review products and share their shopping experiences with the community.

Screenshot Little Red Book Xiaohongshu social commerce in China
Image credits: some official profiles of western brands available on Little Red Book. Photo: Little Red Book app

In October 2014, the founders began to focus on connecting Chinese consumers with retailers and created their own e-commerce platform, where Chinese consumers can purchase products from overseas directly from the brands' official stores.

In 2015 Little Red Book opened its warehouses in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou, offering logistics, groupage and assistance in customs clearance of goods purchased by Chinese users.

As of May 2017, Xiaohongshu had over 50 million users, with a turnover of nearly 10 billion Yuan, making it one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world. In the same year, the international logistics system REDDelivery came into service.

On June 6 of that year, Little Red Book held a shopping festival to celebrate its fourth anniversary. During that day, the turnover exceeded 100 million Yuan in just 2 hours, while the app ranked first in the iOS App Store in the "shopping" category.

In June 2018, Xiaohongshu received a $300 million loan from Alibaba and Tencent, with a combined valuation of $ 3 billion. In 2019 she was selected in Forbes China's Most Innovative Enterprise list. Still the same year, the platform had over 300 million registered users (source Statista).

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A young and wealthy audience

Xiaohongshu is a great platform to buy high-end beauty and fashion products from foreign brands. It has its own logistics network, can link to other e-commerce apps via hyperlinks, and is perfect for searching for information on beauty products in general.

Little Red Book users have a medium to high income, are eager to travel and are constantly looking for the latest products, services and trends. 95% of the members are under the age of 32 and are part of the so-called Chinese Generation Z. 80% are women, over 60% come from first and second level cities (source Statista).

According to the app, there are 300 billion posts viewed every day, of which over 70% are user-generated content. Chinese consumers interact with an average of eight digital touchpoints before committing to purchase a product within the platform.

One of the benefits of Little Red Book is that international companies have access to it, allowing them to capitalize on a direct connection with their audience. It also allows brands to engage and sell to their target market using an algorithm that displays content based on user preferences.

KOL and influencers on Little Red Book Xiaohongshu social commerce in China

Advertising in app feeds is the most efficient way to reach consumers. The ideal content is user friendly and original, providing valid reasons to interact such as a discount, a news, a surprise. Xiaohongshu offers a wide range of multimedia and long-form formats, in order to reach as many people as possible.

Selling in China with Little Red Book

As Chinese consumers' favorite app for product search, the content is mainly related to luxury goods, beauty, fashion, travel and women's lifestyle. However, men's fashion, fitness, education, digital technology, and home décor are rapidly growing categories.

Little Red Book stands out from other e-commerce platforms in many ways. It uses user-generated content, pushes the creation of communities to obtain detailed information on purchases in real time so that users can interact, share and have fun within the platform.

In close collaboration with KOL and testimonials of famous products, Little Red Book manages to enhance the items shown, guaranteeing payment security and an excellent shopping experience. The community within the platform is unique and thanks to the integration of e-commerce it is possible to use multiple functions.

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With the introduction of live streaming in 2019, along with the explosion of vlogging, Little Red Book's popularity has exceeded all expectations, greatly increasing its popularity.

Little Red Book has seen unprecedented growth over the past five years and live streaming commerce is considered the main trend in 2021. We wrote about this in May, explaining how Bytedance and Alibaba are investing in this new content format in China (you can read the article by clicking here).

Whether it's monitoring consumer trends, managing brand reputation or sales performance, this is a vital channel for marketing in China.

On Xiaohongshu it is possible to create live streams, publish videos and photos, write blog posts, buy directly from the official profile of a brand. Any content can be targeted with classic hashtags. In addition, you can create mini programs to be able to customize your page and much more.

Whatever the industry, it is impossible to ignore this pioneering platform. It is a key platform for sharing and researching consumers and essential for positioning your brand in China.

How to take advantage of Little Red Book?

Open an account on Little Red Book Xiaohongshu to sell in China
Image credits: Little Red Book illustration dedicated to sellers. Photo: Little Red Book for sellers.

Little Red Book is an excellent platform for brands that want to sell in China, which can offer their products to specific KOLs in the most suitable category and in the meantime open a shop within it, sponsoring it with targeted advertisements in addition to an effective marketing campaign. .

It is important to make the most of the numerous e-commerce events in China as an initial test to test strategies to follow throughout the year. If the choices made prove effective, they will be replicated in subsequent events, on the occasion of the most important events of the year (eg the singles' day).

Tools like Noziroh Hub are essential for successfully selling products in China and managing export processes. The risks of failure are around the corner and only through in-depth market research is it possible to verify the feasibility of a project and avoid unexpected events.

With Noziroh Hub it is possible to manage all the marketing phases by relying on a single reference: market research, opening/management of stores in the main Chinese e-commerce platforms, storage of goods, order fulfillment, opening/management of Chinese social profiles, packaging and private label.

Author: Alessandro Ave

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