Blog / The Rise of Xiaohongshu: China's Hottest Social Commerce Platform

The Rise of Xiaohongshu: China's Hottest Social Commerce Platform

In this article, we delve into the rise of Xiaohongshu, tracing its origins, key features, and the factors contributing to its success.

What is Xiaohongshu?

Xiaohongshu, also known as RED or Little Red Book, is a Chinese social commerce platform that originated as a community for users to share overseas shopping experiences. It has evolved into a comprehensive platform where users create and share content related to lifestyle, fashion, beauty, travel, and more. Xiaohongshu integrates social media features with e-commerce functionality, allowing users to discover, discuss, and purchase products directly through the platform. It gained popularity for its user-generated content model, fostering trust among users seeking authentic recommendations. The platform has become a significant player in China's social commerce landscape, attracting millions of users and serving as a powerful tool for brands and influencers to engage with consumers.

Key Features of Xiaohongshu

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Xiaohongshu's foundation lies in UGC, fostering a community where users share their personal stories and recommendations.

Xiaohongshu users recommend places to eat and visit in Düsseldorf. Image from Jing Daily

An example of crowd source recommendation in Xiaohongshu happened back in 2021.

Düsseldorf unexpectedly became a popular travel destination for Chinese tourists. A trend for a "weekend getaway to Düsseldorf" gained prominence on Xiaohongshu, as reported by Rest of World. The app suggested local Chinese restaurants in Düsseldorf, and its users took note, showcasing the influence of the Xiaohongshu effect.

E-Commerce Integration

Xiaohongshu seamlessly integrates social content with e-commerce functionality. Users can discover products within the app, read reviews, and make purchases, directly from in the app.

Image from Nanjing Marketing Group

Shown above is an example of a user’s shopping journey on Xiaohongshu where users can swiftly make purchases without leaving the app, thanks to saved mobile payment and shipping information.

Xiaohongshu also offers cross-border e-commerce, allowing users to explore and buy products not readily available in China. This emphasis on global discovery distinguishes Xiaohongshu from other domestic platforms.

Influencer Marketing

Exhibitors at the Suzhou Innovation Fair showcase their products via Xiaohongshu's livestream. Image from Business Insider

Xiaohongshu has become a haven for influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) to share their insights. Brands collaborate with these influencers to reach a broader audience, leveraging their impact on purchasing decisions.

Factors Driving Xiaohongshu's Success

Millennial Appeal

Xiaohongshu resonates strongly with China's millennial and Gen Z demographic. The platform's emphasis on lifestyle, travel, and fashion aligns well with the interests of the younger audience, making it a cultural phenomenon.

For more stats, read on in the “Understand Xiaohongshu’s Audience” section!


The UGC model fosters a sense of trust and authenticity. Users rely on peer reviews and recommendations, making informed decisions about purchases. This trust is a precious commodity in an age where consumers are wary of fake reviews and influencer marketing.

Social Commerce Trend

Xiaohongshu's integration of social content with e-commerce capitalizes on the growing trend of social commerce in China.

Image from sMarketer

China stands as the world's largest e-commerce market, contributing to nearly 50 percent of global transactions. In 2020, China recorded over 710 million digital buyers, and online retail transactions amounted to $2.29 trillion, as reported by eMarketer. Projections indicate a further increase, with expectations to reach $3.56 trillion by 2024.

With this said, users don't just want to browse; they want to buy directly from the platforms they engage with, making Xiaohongshu a one-stop-shop for socializing and shopping.

International Expansion

Xiaohongshu has an impressive user base of 200 million monthly active users (MAUs) in China and has garnered registrations from 140,000 brands. For foreign brands aiming to enhance their presence and connect with Chinese consumers effectively, Xiaohongshu is undoubtedly the go-to platform. Web Traffic by Country. Image from SimilarWeb

While most Xiaohongshu users are in Mainland China, its access isn't restricted to China; it attracts traffic from various countries as seen above.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Strategic partnerships with brands and influencers have been pivotal in Xiaohongshu's success. Collaborations amplify brand visibility and contribute to the platform's allure as a trendsetting marketplace.

An example of a successful Xiaohongshu campaign worth mentioning is Zhang Zifeng, a Chinese Gen-Z actress with 15.8 million Weibo followers.

The Japanese cosmetics brand SK-II introduced her as their new brand ambassador in 2022 (Campaign Asia).

The announcement came alongside a photo campaign where Zhang Zifeng showcased the brand's iconic face treatment, Pitera Essence. This campaign is part of SK-II's ongoing series, "Change Destiny" . 

The collaboration between SK-II and the young talent on Xiaohongshu has been well-received by Chinese netizens.

The announcement on the brand's Weibo page generated 17,000 comments and sales conversions from verified users in just six days, mostly from Zhang's fans expressing support and admiration.

Optimizing Your Website for Xiaohongshu

For businesses looking to capitalize on Xiaohongshu's immense user base and vibrant social commerce ecosystem, optimizing your website is crucial as a digital touchpoint for conversion.

Here are key strategies to enhance your online presence on Xiaohongshu:

Understand Xiaohongshu's Audience

According to a CBN Data report, Xiaohongshu's main demographics include:

88.80% female users, 11.20% male users

46.39% users aged 18 – 24

36.08% users aged 25 – 34

The majority of users are concentrated in first-tier cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai

These findings suggest that the typical XiaoHongShu user is likely a Millennial or Gen Z, residing in one of China’s major cities, and possesses a good education level with moderate to high purchasing power.

Stay informed about trending topics and cultural nuances that matter to your target demographic.

Connect with Chinafy partners like Red Ant Asia, who specialize in activating campaigns in China for luxury brands

Integrate E-Commerce Functionality

If applicable, ensure that your website seamlessly integrates with Xiaohongshu's e-commerce features. This includes direct links to your products, facilitating smooth transactions, and delivering a user-friendly shopping experience.

Prioritize Website Speed

A well-optimized website ensures a seamless connection with Xiaohongshu, providing users a smooth and efficient transition from the platform to your site.

This is where Chinafy comes into play. By incorporating Chinafy into your existing tech stack, it enhances speed and functionality. Chinafy identifies and replaces incompatible resources, ensuring quick loading in China.

With its advanced combination of code and hardware, Chinafy offers China-specific optimizations and a multi-load-balanced infrastructure, resulting in a fully-managed site that is 6-8 times faster in China.

Ready to optimize your website for Xiaohongshu? Click Get Started to evaluate your website with Chinafy

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