If you’re involved with Chinese marketing, you’re probably already familiar with WeChat and Weibo. But these days RED is growing in popularity and threatening to take away some of Weibo’s market share. Here is the scoop on this popular app.

RED, also known as Xiaohongshu (literally, Little Red Book) is a social media and e-commerce platform launched in 2013 with more than 300 million users. RED is an app (it can be downloaded from your favourite app store) where people can review products and share their shopping experiences with a vast community. It also has a relatively new e-commerce function but first and foremost, it’s a content sharing application. Users post product photos with reviews and tips for other users to read, comment, and save to their boards as you would on Pinterest. The result is more brand awareness to the products featured on the site.

Who is using RED?

Of RED’s 300 million users, about 80% are female and 70% are Millennials or members of Generation Z. Typically those using the app have higher than average disposable income. RED is used by Chinese people in China and around the world. Access to this lucrative market hasn’t gone unnoticed: American celebrity Kim Kardashian has her own official account on It helps her promote her KKW makeup line. Rihanna also promotes her Fenty Beauty line on RED.

What can you do on RED?

Westerners might describe RED as a combination of Instagram, Pinterest and Amazon. You can use it to:

  • Create and post content – reviewing or leaving recommendations for products is the most common activity
  • Like, share and pin posts
  • Browse and search for words and hot topics
  • Follow influencers
  • Shop online without ever leaving the app, using saved mobile payment information.

What does it mean for brands?

Brands related to luxury shopping have the best bet of being successful on RED. High-end jewelry, shoes, clothing, purses, cosmetics and perfume are all hot topics on the app. Luxury travel is also a growing area of interest.

Verified brands can create their own official stores and engage with customers. However, brand posts and advertisements are not permitted. Success on this channel really relies on having people posting about your product. That’s why many top brands like Channel, Gucci and Dior pay big money to have China’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) endorse their product on the site. However, as more and more influencers are used on the site to promote products, the more complaints come in from users who feel the site is losing credibility. It’s a fine line to walk and one that RED will need to be mindful of as it continues its growth trajectory.


The growing list of Chinese social media channels means companies need to be strategic when determining where to invest time and energy. If you sell luxury goods or travel experiences, RED could be an appropriate channel to explore. However, you’ll need to hustle to generate word-of-mouth reviews of your product, or invest in a KOL campaign.

Need help? Contact our team of Chinese marketing professionals who can help you determine if RED is the appropriate channel for your business.