Little Red Book

While the term Little Red Book in China may previously have brought Chairman Mao’s book of the same name to mind, today’s Chinese may associate it with something altogether different.

Little Red Book – the go-to online retailer for overseas luxury goods

Little Red Book – Xiao Hong Shu in Chinese – is an app that has attracted over 17 million consumers and $200 million in annual merchandise sales in just 3 years. Things don’t look to be slowing down, with the company recently having raised $120 million from major investors such as TenCent and ZhenFund.

The app was originally launched in January 2014 as a platform for people to review merchandise bought overseas in response to the number of Chinese travelling abroad and spending on luxury items. The app was born to help them share their shopping experiences, creating a community of luxury shoppers.

‘Red’, as it is sometimes referred to, provides a range of great functionality.

  • Learn about and share shopping tips, deals, and experiences from their trips abroad
  • Browse through lists of the most popular brands, and through products on brands’ exclusive pages
  • Share pictures of products they have purchased, displaying them in a Pinterest-like interface with commenting and liking features
  • Buy directly from the site via the e-commerce function, featuring items with the most user shares

What’s different about this app is that only the most talked about products are available to be purchased. Interestingly, 80 per cent of Little Red Book users are under 30 years old and 90 per cent are female.

Red also provides specialised apps to help shoppers when they go overseas to shop in-person, maximising on the Chinese trend of travelling overseas to make luxury purchases.

Red gives users a more social experience versus just shopping. Users get a more personalised feel, sifting through fellow shoppers’ reviews and photos. User generated content is king on this app, and users have the power to become influencers.

It’s almost like stepping out for a coffee and doing some window shopping… before you know it, you’ll be receiving a recommendation on a Gucci handbag and purchasing an SK-II night cream.

While Red has a website it is very much mobile-focussed, capitalising on the Chinese market’s significant use of and reliance on mobile as part of their everyday lives. The proportion of internet users in China on mobile has increased by close to 90 per cent, or 594 million people according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

For further tips and useful advice on tapping into the potential of Chinese consumers, please visit:

This blog was written by Georgina Lionatos, MCX Director of Client Services – a proud Greek Australian and Sinophile.

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