Why Little Red Book App is a Great E-Commerce Tool in China?

Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is a young Shanghainese app that rose in the last few years to become one of the hottest social media platforms in China. It mainly targets shopping lovers and focuses on beauty products, clothing, and more! Thanks to its well-targeted communication and successful strategy, this Chinese social media and e-commerce platform made a name for itself in China and is even beginning to expand its influence abroad.

It is reaching the point that it becomes difficult to rise with eCommerce in China without including Little Red Book in your strategy if you sell cosmetics or fashion items. In this post, we’ll tell you what the Little Red Book app is, why is Xiaohongshu so popular, and how it actually works.

What is the Little Red Book app?

Little Red Book (RED), called Xiaohongshu in Chinese, is a lifestyle-sharing social media platform in China, that is often called Chinese Instagram. The app allows users to share, discover and review content from other users, either average consumers, celebrities, or influencers but also brands and businesses.

Xiaohongshu was launched in 2014 with the aim to provide Chinese women with a social media community, where they can share their photos/videos and recommendations and find tips, mostly on beauty and fashion. Today, thanks to its user-generated content, the app grew to become one of the biggest social e-commerce platforms in the world.

The success of Little Red Book in numbers

Today Xiaohongshu platform has more than 200 million monthly active users and is constantly expanding. What is the most important and unique of this social network among other apps is that the majority of its users are women, which makes it a great tool for all the domestic and foreign brands in the fashion and beauty industry.

Little red book app in numbers

Little Red Book/ Xiaohongshu is a great platform to sell products to Millenials and Gen Z in China, as the majority of its users are born after 1990. It offers a lot of different functions, like posting photos and short videos, selling products on its shopping platform, or communicating with the followers base.

Although you can’t write detailed articles there, as it works more like Instagram, with lifestyle images and quality content, you can engage with your audience via many different formats.

Why is Xiaohongshu so popular?

According to the app, there are 300 billion posts viewed every day on Little Red Book with more than 70% of them being user-generated content (UGC). UGC and influential media personalities (in China influencers are called KOLs – Key Opinion Leaders and KOCs – Key Opinion Consumers) are one of the most powerful tools to use in order to win Xiaohongshu users.

In fact, user-generated content is the main contributor to the success of RED. In China, consumers are constantly bombarded with official brand promotions and advertising but due to many scandals and counterfeiting on the market, they believe word-of-mouth marketing far more than official communication. This is why they find Little Red Book useful when making purchasing decisions or looking for inspiration.

How does Little Red Book work?

Little Red Book app targets young modern dynamic working women between 18 and 35 years old. Just as its connected clientele, almost exclusively female and mostly urban, Little Red Book is an e-commerce platform that is aware of new trends and allows buyers to discover new products, share their customer reviews and exchange ideas and tips creating thousands of user-generated content posts daily.

The app offers features such as an eCommerce store, live streaming, shopping notes, and short videos (Douyin and Kuaishou alike) and can become fairly addictive. It’s a great tool connecting Chinese consumers with brands through content that doesn’t seem that commercial, enriching their shopping experiences.

Little Red Book - kidswear

What types of products sell the best on this social e-commerce platform?

As the majority of Chinese consumers on the app are women, it’s only natural that Little Red Book / Xiaohongshu is a very competitive platform for all domestic and foreign brands of the fashion and beauty industries. It’s a social platform with a focus on user-generated content.

Its success lies primarily in its community, as users engage actively in creating helpful content for other users of the app, creating recommendations, and tips, writing reviews and making the shopping experience easier and more fun for other Chinese users. It’s one of the most engaging social media platforms in the Chinese digital ecosystem, creating an amazing product review platform for all domestic and international brands and their consumers.

Check one of Gentlemen Marketing Agency Little Red Book case studies for a fashion brand:
Little Red Book - Gentlemen Marketing Agency case study - Larizia

The app has become a go-to for Chinese consumers when doing research about a product. It’s a great help for Chinese buyers who find it difficult to navigate between fake brands and the attributes of each country.

It sells particularly well the skincare and beauty products from international brands (including dietary supplements) difficult to find on other platforms and e-commerce sites in China or even not yet exported. Chinese consumers can look for relevant content by searching content tags, so it also has some features of traditional search engines like Baidu, making it easy to navigate through the app.

As we mentioned, fashion and cosmetics are the kings of the app, followed by other luxury goods, the travel industry, and all lifestyle-related brands. The platform is great for connecting Chinese consumers and relies on the tremendous mutual help between Chinese users and brands that sell products there.

Cartier on Little Red Book

Why is the app going beyond other e-commerce platforms in the Chinese market?

First, the app is no longer only used by Chinese women in China: the Chinese diaspora scattered around the world starts using Little Red Book! Therefore, it’s becoming easier to attract Chinese consumers around the world. It’s also a chance to understand Chinese user preferences and shopping habits that can help international companies win over other brands in China.

Mixing product advice and a rating forum with an e-commerce platform – to go directly to online shopping once the ideal product has been spotted – facilitates the buying process. The result is without doubt: the sale of a product is concluded more quickly on Little Red Book than on any other e-commerce site!

Little Red Book feed

Little Red Book ensures its effectiveness by creating international partnerships with leading brands of beauty and fashion products. Japanese, Korean, and American brands are at the top of these partnerships, not far from France, in line with the confidence of Chinese consumers.

Beauty products from Japan, Korea, and France are indeed the ones with the best reputation in China and receive the most consideration. As for American products, the American Dream does not leave the Chinese insensitive and the ready-to-wear from the US is a role model. So if you’re an apparel or beauty brand, don’t hesitate to start the brand’s official account and promote your online store to the Chinese audience.

Finally, the application plays on trust between Chinese users. Knowing that trust is the most important thing for Chinese people when it comes to business, it is easy to understand why Little Red Book is working so well. Little Red Books’ focus is on user-generated content, mostly reviews and recommendations of products, and services or places.


KOLs and their user-generated content, the main marketing asset of Little Red Book

The main reason why Little Red Book works so well is precisely the trust between its users: the key opinion leaders – mostly fashion addicts – make all the success of the platform. Remunerated in commission by brands or the platform itself for their good publicity, these users post daily pictures of them testing new products by commenting or advising on their use. Key Opinion Leaders are very influential and can make a brand famous in just one day.

little red book KOLS

Their strength lies in an engaged community of followers that trust their judgment. They have gradually gained the confidence of other Internet users who follow with interest their new publications. The larger their audience (which counts in the number of likes, comments, and shares of each new publication), the bigger their influence is. They can promote brands’ products and drive traffic to their online store, host a live stream or a Q&A session about a foreign brand that other users don’t know yet.

Hiring a Key Opinion Leader is a huge opportunity for gaining brand awareness and building a community around your brand, but it’s important to know, that influencer campaigns are usually expensive. Of course, the more known the KOL is, the more pricey the campaign gets. When it comes to influencers, Little Red Book is definitely the one that is the most fertile among other e-commerce platforms.

Fan Bing Bing on Xiaohongshu
Fan Bing Bing, one of the most popular celebrities in China and her RED official account

Other marketing assets of the Little Red Book App

Official brand account

You can create your official account to share attractive marketing content with a receptive and large audience. An official account should give the brand’s spirit and provide information to customers who are always looking for reliable brands and products on e-commerce platforms. In addition, it also helps the brand to gain credibility among Chinese users.

E-commerce store

After the creation of a brand account, it is possible to open an online store within the app. It is very efficient to sell through this channel since users usually directly buy products in this type of store. What is more, it’s also possible to open a cross-border e-commerce store, which is a great opportunity for international companies to sell foreign products directly on the app.

Yumee brand on Xiaohongshu

Paid advertisement

As with any platform, the use of display ads is a good option to reach your target audience. Pop-up ad (appearing when you open the app) or feed ad (appearing in the users’ feed)? The choice is up to you. But you need to remember that payments vary greatly on the type of ad, the industry, timing (for example, during a shopping festival prices might go up), and many more.

Little Red Book Algorithm

Little Red Book uses an algorithm to adapt the content that will be shown to its users depending on their tastes and center of interest. After business registration, you can also gain access to data insights to better track your customers’ shopping habits, similar to other social media platforms.

Short Videos & Live streaming

Users can scroll through thousands of short videos on every topic possible and can just as easily join live-streaming sessions for better shopping experiences. The videos are categorized by popular and “nearby”.

Little Red Book live-streaming

Little Red Book and the live-streaming industry

A few years ago Little Red Book launched its live-streaming feature, encouraged by the huge success of big Chinese players, like Alibaba, WeChat, and Douyin, which all profited from the live-streaming function. With the explosion of vlogs views and the number of videos posted on the platform, using this feature increased the brand’s sales revenue even more.

Live streaming is one of the most popular forms of product promotion on RED, with thousands of Chinese influencers going live every day. Just like all the other Chinese social media platforms, live-streaming sessions are mostly centered around sales and brands promotion. Adjusting to user preferences and constantly evolving, the live-streaming industry is becoming far more efficient than any other traditional marketing tactic.

Little Red Book feen

Include Little Red Book in your e-commerce strategy

Impossible to ignore Little Red Book now, your products must absolutely be among the selections of the platform. Some tips to reach an optimal result:

  • Use Key Opinion Leaders to spread a positive image of your products and put them on stage, so that users will feel more confident to invest in your brand.
  • Translating your packaging into Mandarin Chinese is a must-have to facilitate your implementation.
  • Good management of your e-reputation is essential from the moment when users comment on your products. You have to boost the positive comments and react immediately in case of complaints to avoid tarnishing the image of your products. Knowing that the web is fierce, the scope of a bad comment is ten times greater than the one of a positive comment.

How to get started on RED? Is there an English version of Xiaohongshu?

The best way to start is by downloading the app. So how to download the Xiaohongshu app? Just like any other app, you can go to your Apple Store or Google Play and type ‘Little Red Book’ or 小红书 in the search.

When it comes to the English version, there is an option of changing the language of the app in the settings section once you start an account. But you need to be aware that, although the menu and titles will be in English or any language you select, the content will still show in Mandarin Chinese.

If you’d like to start an official account on the app, please contact us for guidance.

Why our Agency can help you attract Chinese consumers to RED

We are a specialized digital marketing agency for the Chinese market. Our knowledge of the consumption habits of Chinese buyers – and especially in the world of luxury – is intended to advise foreign companies on their establishment in China.

Contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency

Together, we will put in place the best communication with Chinese customers and we will develop your Little Red Book strategy. We can help you manage your e-reputation. Thanks to us, e-commerce in China is at your fingertips! We have experience working with many luxury brands, introducing them to many Chinese social media e-commerce platforms.

Here are some of our case studies:

Gentlemen Marketing Agency Case Studies

Learn more about the Agency and about our Chinese Social Media / Kols Solutions for fashion and luxury brands in China. Would you like to talk to our experts? Contact us!

Gentlemen Marketing Agency services for Little Red Book app


  • Hi, Does anyone know how can i buy clothes from online shop in little redbook, as i am from Singapore.Can only chinese living in China can only buy things from Xiaohongshu App.

  • A super article.
    Red is super powerful, empower the power of female consumers.

  • Hello,

    LRB seems to be the place for fashion brands too. Any news if it is still blocked?
    I heard that they ask a Deposit now?
    How much it is ?

  • I advertise on Red. I have a few videos running on it as i write this.
    Yes, it has an upscale clientele, of mostly 20 something girls, many upper-income, pretty, and usually skinny and very fashion and look-conscious.

    Your article is pretty much bang-on to describing Red’s users.

    I am a professional online English teacher.

  • Thank you for the article, it is truly interesting!
    Looking forward to doing business with you!

  • Freida David

    Is there an English version so non-Chinese readers can access and understand? Thanks.

  • Why Luxury Brands Should Care About Little Red book?

    • A

      Because it is where the new generation of Luxury Consumers is searching information, feedback and buy niche products.

  • Luxury Brands Should really Care About Chinese E-commerce Social Media Platform little Red book, aka Xiaohongshu

  • RED this Fashion App is Transforming Social Mobile Commerce in China
    What we see is that mobile commerce and social media in a unique retail strategy that is set to make waves in the Chinese fashion market. The REDapp works directly with brands, they authorised distributors but it is the social component of the strategy that has piqued the interest of industry influencers .

  • I advise you to really understand the environment of Little Red Book, the rest is obvious
    brands would benefit from reviews by the right influencers, everything is based on influencers and your Store and Brand Zone .

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