Chinese social e-commerce site Xiaohongshu returned to some Android stores in China on Monday night, nearly three months after the app was pulled in July.
Why it matters: Xiaohongshu, a top social e-commerce site, joined a growing number of popular Chinese apps including NetEase Cloud Music and short video platform Kuaishou which had been yanked from app stores for hosting content deemed offensive or politically sensitive as China’s internet authorities grow increasingly stringent.
- Xiaohongshu’s ban served as a warning for peers such as Weibo, Meitu, and Meipai.
- Chinese content creation apps for product reviews and videos are common targets of the country’s internet watchdogs, which crack down on pornography, fake reviews, or politically sensitive topics.
Details: Xiaohongshu is back on the virtual shelves of a few Chinese Android app stores, including those of Huawei, OPPO, Tencent, and Meizu.
- The app is still unavailable on Apple’s China App Store. The social e-commerce company declined to provide detail on when it may return when contacted by TechNode on Tuesday.
- User content had only been reviewed in part before the ban, Chinese media reported citing a company employee. But now the content review team is expected to review all user-generated content before it is allowed to go up on the platform, requiring the company to use machine learning as well as manpower to monitor content, the source added.
Context: Xiaohongshu’s missteps—including allowing false product reviews and reviews of regulated goods such as cigarettes, as well as collecting user data without permission—began catching up with the former e-commerce darling early this year.
- The company boasts an 250 million-strong user base as of May—mainly made up of young, female urbanites willing to spend on high-quality products.
- Around 85 million of these users are active each day on average, providing ample opportunity for commercialization via ads and e-commerce, the firm said in May.
- As a leading lifestyle and community e-commerce platform in China, Xiaohongshu’s latest funding was a $300 million B round with a valuation of $3 billion last year.
- A few lookalike apps appeared on Chinese app stores during the ban.