Briefing: Xiaohongshu testing WeChat mini-program in e-commerce expansion

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小红书开了个“小红店”,要在朋友圈做社交电商的生意 – 36Kr

What happened: Chinese e-commerce and social media platform Xiaohongshu, known as RED, is reportedly working on a social e-commerce mini-program on WeChat. The application, Xiaohongdian, has a product catalog of only 11 food items, including Sichuan-style rice noodles and dried bean curd. Group buyers will receive discounts for regularly priced items rather than cash rewards, which are offered on other platforms including Pinduoduo, after sharing with WeChat friends. The invitation-only beta version is currently being tested, and the company did not specify a timeline for the launch.

Why its important: Originally a social network for fashion and beauty products that was launched in 2013, Xiaohongshu is looking to shift into an online shopping platform. It raised $300 million in a Series D led by Alibaba in May. Following a round of restructuring in February, the Shanghai-based startup widened its e-commerce business group to include merchandising, logistics, and customer service departments. However, fake product reviews have tarnished its credibility, which depends heavily on word of mouth. More than 1.38 million paid posters and 1.21 million biased reviews were removed from the platform, according to an company statement released Thursday.