Chinese social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, also called RED or Little Red Book, is testing a live-streaming feature to drive user engagement and boost its e-commerce business.

The app, which specializes in fashion and beauty products, has enabled the feature for a select group of bloggers. These are chosen based on their ability to produce “valuable content,” the number of their followers, and the frequency with which they release new content, the company said.

The number of testing livestreamers and their audiences is still low, a Xiaohongshu spokeswoman told TechNode. The feature is still under development and will be gradually available to more users, she added without giving a specific timetable for the public rollout.

The company said that this feature will increase user engagement and interaction by allowing livestreamers to have real-time communication with their fans. The move is in line with its self-positioning as a content community, adopting some of the rhetoric of social media platforms.

But the integration of the live-streaming function has been widely interpreted by Chinese media as a sign that the company is stepping up its monetization efforts.

Content and online shopping are well integrated in China. This trend, led by China’s largest e-commerce firms, uses livestreaming as a means to engage consumers on e-commerce platforms. A typical example is Li Jiaqi, a 27-year-old video blogger who is referred to as the “Lipstick King” of China. He is known for selling over 15,000 lipsticks in five minutes through his livestream.

Xiahongshu will face fierce competition in the fight for user attention. In 2019, Taobao Live, the live-streaming unit of Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao, has been drastically expanding its live-streaming operations in order to drive e-commerce growth. Meanwhile, video apps such as Douyin and Kuaishou are also claiming a piece of the pie with their own e-commerce marketplaces.

Like other live-streaming platforms in China, Xiaohongshu requires content creators to frame their content around topics that are “positive” and “motivating,” such as travel, reading, parenting, and others. The platform will review topics selected by livestreamers before they are uploaded to ensure compliance with this principle.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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