33 Little Red Book – 小红书 (Xiǎo hóng shū)

Sana Rajendran

simplified Chinese: 小红书; pinyin: Xiǎo hóng shū

Little Red Book

Xiao Hong Shu, or Little Red Book, is a popular Chinese social e-commerce platform that was launched in 2013. It combines social networking, shopping, and content creation in a single app, making it a one-stop-shop for users who are looking for product reviews, recommendations, and shopping deals, design inspiration, and much more. Xiao Hong Shu can be compared to Pinterest, the way that many users customize their feed to appeal to their own tastes. Because of how many Western apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are officially blocked in China, this app has gained a huge following and user base in China. It has millions of users who are mainly tech-savvy, young, and interested in fashion. It is particularly popular among female users, who make up over 70 percent of the app’s user base. The app is also gaining traction in other parts of the world due to increasing globalization, and especially among Chinese-speaking communities.

One of the unique features of Xiao Hong Shu is its emphasis on user-generated content. Users can create and share their own reviews, photos, and videos of products, which helps to build trust and authenticity among the users viewing these posts. In this way, one can imagine how Xiao Hong Shu is a self-generating advertisement, and how people looking to gain popularity inadvertently serve as product placement as they try to be featured by the algorithm and shown to other users. The app also features a recommendation engine that suggests products based on a user’s interests and browsing history. Xiao Hong Shu has also become a popular platform for brands and retailers to reach Chinese consumers. The app allows brands to create their own pages, post content, and interact with users, which can help to build brand awareness and drive sales. In addition, the app offers various advertising options, including targeted ads and sponsored content.

Despite its popularity, the app has faced some challenges since its launch in 2013. For example, in 2019, the app was briefly removed from Chinese app stores due to concerns over inappropriate content and fake reviews. Additionally, there were many users trying to pass their heavily filtered selfies and pictures off as original, authentic content. Xiao Hong Shu was condemned for allowing extremely doctored pictures to be advertised to young, impressionable people. Photoshopped images of women’s bodies and faces led to a distrust of Xiao Hong Shu’s rules. The company has since implemented stricter content moderation policies and introduced new measures to verify user-generated content. Since that time, the user base has skyrocketed, and Xiao Hong Shu remains one of China’s most popular mobile and desktop applications.



Wan, A. (2022, May 18). Council post: What is red (xiaohongshu) and how can it unlock a new revenue stream? Forbes. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/05/16/what-is-red-xiaohongshu-and-how-can-it-unlock-a-new-revenue-stream/?sh=aa3d7274a61c


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Little Red Book - 小红书 (Xiǎo hóng shū) Copyright © 2023 by Sana Rajendran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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