Red or Xiaohongshu 小红书 in Chinese (literal that means Little Red Book) is likely one of the most coveted unicorn Chinese ecommerce and social media platforms.
Both Alibaba and Tencent led the funding of this distinctive app, stated to have a valuation of US$10 billion. Fast Company nominated it as probably the most progressive Chinese corporations subsequent to Meituan and Alibaba (although Red didn’t make into the ultimate checklist).
Rumours have swirled many instances that the unicorn is getting ready for an IPO. Although Chinese media have reported that due to Didi’s investigation and rules adjustments, Red delayed its IPO course of.
So what makes Red a favorite of each traders and types in China?
Red is a sexy platform for manufacturers looking for to focus on youthful generations of Chinese ladies. It has over 100 million customers creating video and film notes, virtually 90% of that are ladies largely aged between 18 to 34 years outdated.
Founded in 2013, it has the nickname National Grass Planter (国民种草机), whereby it has grow to be a fascinating platform for manufacturers trying to seed (种草), develop (长草) and weed (拔草) audiences—which is the method from pondering to purchasing.
Fashion KOLs and ladies influencers are in a position to acquire advantageous standing in the ecosystem. Influencers “打哈欠的大狮子” and “HiyaSonya” have gained greater than 1 million followers in Red since they had been featured in Campaign Asia-Pacific’s 10 Chinese KOLs to observe in 2018. At the time Elijah Whaley, then CMO of Parklu, famous that Red, with its content-to-commerce person expertise, would proceed to be a smash hit.
Its rise has not been with out some bumps alongside the best way. Crisis hit in 2019 when it was found that the platform was getting used to promote unlawful content and harvest pretend followers. In a authorities crackdown, the app was faraway from Android app shops in China. But after instituting strict tips, it quickly bounced again and has grow to be much more fashionable as an information-sharing platform.
GroupM’s Digital Platforms Ecosystem Report listed it as the highest 4 short-video platform in China, along with WeChat Channel(视频号), Douyin (TikTok Chinese model), and Kuaishou. The report advisable Red as a life-style and consumption determination app, with private pursuits as crucial tag in the community.
A problem for Red is how you can compete in an already complicated ecommerce business in China. While it has its personal retailer known as “福利社” providing membership reductions and different advantages, plus hundreds of manufacturers’ official shops, fairly a few customers nonetheless learn notes and suggestions after which change to different ecommerce apps corresponding to Tmall and JD to purchase merchandise.
Nevertheless, R3 and Weiboyi launched a KOL funding apply report in China. They discovered that Red (+119%) has a a lot increased improve in the funding fee from advertisers than many different platforms, proper subsequent to Bilibili (+141%).
Perfect Diary is likely one of the most profitable circumstances of manufacturers that has benefited from Red. In early 2018, the model started to speculate in KOL advertising and marketing and invited many KOLs and different customers to share notes on Red, which helped improve gross sales on Tmall. As Red publicity correlates with Tmall gross sales improve, many different new manufacturers noticed and adopted go well with.
Brands which have made long-term efforts to dig into genuine UGC content on Red have prospered, in accordance with a Digipont article solicited by Doris Ke (刀姐), one in every of our Women to Watch Greater China winners 2021. Deciphering the logic of the algorithm and analysing content advertising and marketing on the platform, Digipont’s article advisable new manufacturers corresponding to Chicecream (钟薛高), a high-end ice cream model, and Xiaoxiandun (小仙炖), a cubilose or edible hen’s nest model, as basic examples of how finest to market on Red.
What ought to entrepreneurs contemplate when investing in Red? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the platform in the long-term? We’ve invited a number of business analysts with experience in the Chinese market to share their ideas.
Arnold Ma FounderQumin
I might say Red is likely one of the finest up-and-coming sharing and advice platforms, and positively the most important of the smaller platforms. It began its life—and certainly its heritage is closely constructed on—magnificence and style suggestions from its customers. Like every little thing, because it has grown, it’s now extra of a basic social media content platform. People additionally want to grasp, it’s the very best sharing and advice platform for the feminine viewers.
Neiwai, a main Chinese lingerie model, has been doing effectively on Red by not simply specializing in the practical aspect of their merchandise, but additionally interesting to Red customers on a extra significant degree. Neiwai’s content on Red has focused gender, feminine empowerment and physique picture. It has been working with feminine health and style creators and influencers to problem conventional stereotypes about ladies’s our bodies. The model understands that these influential folks can play a essential position in customers’ determination making and provoking females. It’s the mixture of promoting effectiveness and objective—which many manufacturers neglect once they enter or construct methods for China.
Its draw back paradoxically can also be its benefit. Its viewers may be very female-centric, which limits the kind of content, the kind of viewers and types on the platform—additionally limiting its talents to monetise in comparison with platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou. I believe it should evolve to be much more centered on social and dwell commerce. Right now, Red has the best commerce dialog out of all of the social platforms in China. And, greater than something, being a majority feminine viewers, they’re the right viewers for shoppertainment. The merchandise which are bought on there are largely decrease worth impulse purchases. Perfect for dwell/social commerce.
Greg PaullCo-founder & PrincipalR3
China’s social media platforms dwell in an interdependent ecosystem, so there is no such thing as a such factor because the “strongest”. Every platform serves explicit curiosity teams. Red is a essential channel for sharing and advice on the subject of style and cosmetics; Douyin appeals to foodies; Bilibili attracts folks in expertise merchandise.
Knowing if their model class is the best match is the primary consideration any marketer must make if they’re contemplating investing in Red. Marketers additionally have to assess if their promotions align with person expectations on the platform. Does their advertising and marketing technique embrace direct gross sales, reductions, and sampling?
Newer manufacturers, significantly direct-to-consumer manufacturers, are extra agile and data-driven with their advertising and marketing strategy, and subsequently are in a position to leverage platform options rapidly. Any model trying to maximise their return on social right this moment must have the best companions, platforms, and in-house functionality to make it work. Traditional advertising and marketing operations gained’t work in this new surroundings.
Red is extra centered on Tier 2 and Tier 3 KOCs (China’s Key Opinion Consumers), which ends up in problems with monitoring prices and efficiency. Ensuring the integrity of merchandise, the standard of visitors, and the authenticity of content is vital for Red as these elements will determine the extent of belief it receives from customers and the quantity that entrepreneurs will likely be keen to speculate.
Conversion on Red is pushed by the expertise of connecting in the second. Narrow focus, excessive intimacy—that is the place the place persons are most definitely to purchase. WeChat and Weibo are about reaching the lots. High quantity, low intimacy. It’s info. Douyin is about socialising and model consciousness. Narrow focus, however nonetheless low intimacy because of the sort of sharing.