The most popular social apps in China – Part 4: Xiao Hong Shu

16 Aug
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With a mission to “inspire lives”, Xiao Hong Shu is a young lifestyle platform, founded in Shanghai in 2013 by Mao Wenchao and Qu Fang, that inspires people to discover and connect with a range of diverse lifestyles. Millions of users showcase their experiences on the platform daily, from cosmetics and beauty to fashion, food, travel, entertainment, fitness, and childcare, brought to life visually through a variety of formats including photos, text, videos and live streaming. The innovative platform integrates the authentic content shared by its community with commerce, quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for making lifestyle decisions.

The initial positioning of Xiao Hong Shu was to create an experience-sharing platform for overseas travel and shopping. From 2017 to 2019, after a series of strategic adjustments, the business closed loop within the platform was successfully realised and developed into its current form.

According to the data report released in March 2022, the report based on the insightful analysis of the active users of Xiao Hong Shu in the whole industry, shows that the platform currently has 200 million monthly active users, 50% of which are distributed in first- and second-tier cities. 72% are born in the 1990s, female users account for a larger proportion, and the proportion of male users is on the rise.

As of November 2021, the proportion of male users of Xiaohongshu has risen to 30%. In addition, Xiaohongshu users are mainly young, love the trends, love to share, love life, and have high consumption.

The content of the Xiaohongshu community currently covers fashion, personal care, makeup, food, travel, entertainment, reading, fitness, mother and baby, and other lifestyle fields, generating more than 7 billion exposures every day, of which more than 95% are UGC content.

Xiao Hong Shu is somehow a bit like Instagram

As a loyal user of Xiao Hong Shu, I prefer to call it a platform for learning from others` experience.

For example, I learned a lot of new cooking tutorials on Xiao Hong Shu. I followed bloggers for some recommendations for cosmetics, snowboard tricks, etc. As a pet lover, the pet posts also keep me engaged with a lot of pet-related posts.

Xiao Hong Shu is somehow a bit like Instagram. The difference is that Xiao Hong Shu will display the title, which can provide text support for improving the click-through rate. The eye-catching title will also drive people to click on this post.



For example, the title of the right post is very attractive to people who want to lose weight but don’t want to give up food. It says ”the fat-reducing meal that made me lose 9 kg”. It easily generates a lot of clicks.

Another thing that is different from Instagram is that Xiao Hong Shu is in the form of a blog post after people click through the post.

I would say that Instagram focuses more on pictures and videos. At the same time, Xiao Hong Shu also needs eye-catching pictures and videos, but the title and text are equally important.


This picture shows the page when users see or search for keywords.


This is the page after the user clicks on the post. In this way, is it more like a blog, isn't it?

As a social platform, the purpose of Xiao Hong Shu is simple and clear. It is to provide a community platform for users who love to share and communicate.

Just like the first three social platforms we mentioned earlier, Xiao Hong Shu provides an online mall where users can experience one-click ordering.

Online shopping is nowadays very common in China, especially for young people with high consumption.


Online mall


Product info page

Of course, Xiao Hong Shu also provides a platform for companies.

Xiao Hong Shu Enterprise Account focuses on the core product of "Business Account", integrates the company's resources from community marketing to closed-loop transactions, better connects consumers and brands, and helps brands complete one-stop closed-loop marketing in Xiao Hong Shu, providing Full chain service. Below is an example of two business accounts.


La Mer



Companies targeting young and economically powerful user groups can choose to join Xiao Hong Shu to promote their brands and products.

There are various types of marketing advertisements on Xiao Hong Shu, which can be roughly divided into the following four categories.

  1. Open screen ads: Enhance content exposure and deepen brand impression.
  2. Feed ads: native scenes display advertising content, achieve efficient user contact, and support the realization of various marketing goals of brand and effect.
  3. Brand Zone: Brand advertisements on the search page are placed at the top, effectively catching user attention.
  4. Influencer cooperation

Each marketing advertisement can choose different promotion forms according to different needs and audience groups.


Open screen Ad


Feed Ad


Influencer cooperation


Brand Zone

So far, we have introduced you to four of the most popular social platforms in China. They all have unique styles and functions, covering all aspects of Chinese life.

These platforms also target different users, which is very important for companies that want to develop the Chinese market. Only by choosing a social platform suitable for their brand and products can they achieve the desired marketing effect.

Here you can read again our three articles we published before:

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