Digitally China Podcast: RED (aka Xiaohongshu) and the Ups and Downs of Social E-Commerce

Xiaohongshu is one of China's hottest social commerce platforms right now, but its story also spotlights some of the pitfalls in the sector

0 0
5:41 AM HKT, Fri August 2, 2019 1 mins read

Digitally China is a bi-weekly podcast from RADII hosted by Tom Xiong and Eva Xiao, and produced by Jacob Loven. On each episode, the team will tackle a different timely tech-related topic, providing key insights on all you need to know about the fast-changing nature of innovation in China. Find previous episodes of Digitally China here and subscribe on iTunes here. Scroll down to listen to the latest episode on Spotify.

Companies around the world are latching onto social commerce, but in China, where mobile payments are ubiquitous and consumers are extra wary of fake goods, the integration between social media and online shopping has been especially fast.

That doesnt mean its a silver bullet for brands though — or even for the multi-billion dollar internet celebrity industry, where influencers are tasked with advertising products without appearing too commercial.

In this episode of Digitally China, well discuss Xiaohongshu (or RED to give it its official English name), which is often compared to Instagram and Pinterest.


The fast-growing app, which is popular among young, female urbanites in China, has over 85 million monthly active users and is valued at 3 billion USD following a 300 million USD funding round last year led by e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba.

But the e-commerce side of RED is still behind more price-conscious competitors like Pinduoduo — and the app hit its latest roadblock earlier this week, when it was pulled from Chinese app stores.

Well cover some of the challenges the app is facing as it tries to grow its e-commerce business — monetizing its vibrant user community — and manage the thousands of influencers on its platform.

Episode summary

· Xiaohongshu backstory and introduction

· Xiaohongshu vs competitors

· Xiaohongshus content quality problem

· Success cases of brands working with influencers

· Cosmetics: an industry where Chinese brands have really optimized social media and e-commerce


· Elijah Whaley, chief marketing officer at Parklu, an influencer marketing tech firm in China

· Huo Qiu, a fashion and cosmetics influencer with over 1 million followers on Weibo and about 30,000 followers on Xiaohongshu

Listen to the latest Digitally China episode below or find it (and previous episodes) on iTunes here.

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Pour yourself a stiff one, we'll be with you in a minute