New policy for influencers on Red /Xiaohongshu

Reminder: The little Red Book aka Red

The Little Red Book known as RED is a platform set up in 2013. It allows Chinese travelers to share shopping tips abroad and discover niche brands.

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In 6 years, this platform has become a giant in China’s social e-commerce and has more than 200 million monthly active users.

Today the platform is considered indispensable in terms of a marketing strategy for international fashion and beauty brands that want to gain market share in China.

Recently, the platform sent a note to content creators announcing new qualification criteria for influencers. According to the message, influencers must comply with the new quality standards of “Red” or relinquish their privileges.

These changes are the most significant that Red has made since its launch. This new policy is expected to impact three-quarters of influencers. Despite all this, this policy includes new opportunities for influencers who know where to look.

I) Unintended consequences of Red’s rapid expansion

The considerable development of the platform has led to the emergence of sponsored messages that support the streams of influencers. The imbalance between sponsored and unsponsored content has tired users, which subsequently reduced the engagement of user agents.

Contrary to the ethics of the platform, false product criticisms have emerged in an attempt to manipulate public opinion. This prompted Red to conduct a thorough review.

Also, content creators and the agencies that represent them have begun to receive a steady stream of revenue without the platform being able to share these benefits.

II) Consequence: new policy 2019

In early 2019, Red launched a new portal called the Brand Partners Platform. This influencer portal should allow brands to discover and work directly with influencers certified by the platform itself.

To access this type of collaboration, some new rules must be respected.

1)1st rule: any certified brand partner must have at least 1000 subscribers (followers)

This portal has helped to better regulate Red’s community of influencers and also allows the platform to obtain a share of the revenues from influencer collaborations.

Subsequently, the platform changed the requirements of the portal.

2) Review of the 1st Rule: Brand partners will no longer have to have only 1000 subscribers but 5,000 and will have to maintain an average of 10,000 views per post during the last month.

As a result of this new rule, only 4,000 of the 17,000 previously certified influencers would be considered brand partners. This new policy encourages influencers to produce quality content to attract and retain more and more users.

Also, influencers must now publish four non-commercial posts for each sponsored position. They must also perform at least four sponsored positions per month.

III) Impacts for disqualified influencers

This new policy caught many influencers off guard who used to work independently.

Now, most are struggling to find a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) as a host.

After the new rules came to light, critics denounced Red’s betrayal: “We helped build Red and now he’s betraying us.” Indeed, groups of micro-influencers helped build the platform.

In other words, it was partly because of them that Red was born.

IV) Good news for survivors

For influencers guarded by the system, this new policy is beneficial because it significantly reduces competition and allows influencers to attract more attention through more consistent ads.

Some reputable influencers say they are satisfied with these new rules: “I think raising the bar will bring positive change to the influencer community; they force us to improve the quality of our work,” says Rui Wang, based in New York.

V) What should brands do?

First, brands should:

1) Create an account on Red

Indeed, Red’s e-commerce section does not allow external links and allows us to close the sales loop and improve the rate of collaborations with influencers.

2) Diversify content distribution channels

Allowing a return on investment could offset the costs of collaboration.

3) Continue to engage micro-influencers

For despite the impossibility for them to become partners of brands, they remain potential sources of influence not to be overlooked.


Social trade in China is booming, it is necessary to understand the importance of positioning oneself on such platforms to succeed in developing in China. The digital strategies we use in our western countries are not transposable to the Asian context especially Chinese which works in a completely different way. Arming yourself with a local partner to help you understand this system will be a major competitive advantage for you.

Don’t hesitate and partner with an agency to expand in China

We are committed to helping foreign companies make themselves known and grow their business in China.

GMA is not part of Little Red Book, but we can help you integrate the Red platform (the little red book)

  • We are a digital marketing agency based in Shanghai and we help foreign brands reach their Chinese consumers. Nowadays, the Chinese have a great appetite for foreign products and e-commerce platforms have become the channels of choice for Chinese buyers looking to buy such items.
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