At the beginning of 2020, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance launched Lemon8 (formerly known as Sharee) in Japan, a product similar to Chinese lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu. Chinese media outlet LatePost reported on Wednesday that the product has been downloaded more than one million times in Japan, but has far fewer daily active users. At present, Lemon8 has begun to expand to Southeast Asian markets such as Thailand.
Xiaohongshu has become the primary target of TikTok’s counterpart app for the Chinese mainland, Douyin. In China, ByteDance has discussed whether to launch a separate product similar to Xiaohongshu. LatePost reported that Douyin had set up an “L” special group to benchmark Xiaohongshu in 2021, and launched a graphic production function. However, according to research of the Douyin team, growth of Xiaohongshu basically has no substantial impact on Douyin, and the special group was set up to compete with Xiaohongshu for the high-end market.
Japan, where the beauty industry is mature, and Southeast Asia, where the tourism industry is developed, both lack a community-based social media product that focuses on lifestyle and recommendations. Different from Instagram, the Xiaohongshu platform model encourages users to explore content other than what they already follow, and also encourages users to share text-based content. These design characteristics are more conducive to the exposure of high-quality content and brands, as well as user interaction.
Currently, Xiaohongshu is still based on the main app platform in overseas markets, and does not partition users within various countries. Beluga Research Institute shows that the main download users of the Google Play version of Xiaohongshu come from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, Canada and the U.S.