Social maker

TikTok maker ByteDance targets lifestyle leader Xiaohongshu with new app

The logo of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is seen on its booth during a media tour at the exhibition center of Zhongguancun National Innovation Demonstration Zone in Beijing, China, 10 February 2022 REUTERS/Florence Lo

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BEIJING, July 14 (Reuters) – Chinese TikTok owner ByteDance is looking for its next big hit by penetrating deeper into the social media lifestyle sector with Kesong, a similar shopping and lifestyle recommendations app to market leader Xiaohongshu.

Kesong, launched last week, allows users to share photos, videos and reviews of fashion tips and shopping experiences.

It emulates Xiaohongshu, often compared to Meta Platforms Inc’s (META.O) Instagram and widely seen as the epitome of “planting weed” – the notion that reviews can entice readers or followers to buy. a product or service.

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Fashion and luxury brands often turn to Xiaohongshu influencers who can reach millions of affluent users in China. Overseas, Xiaohongshu is known as Red in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Hardware and software maker ByteDance was valued at around $300 billion in recent deals and has become something of an app factory. It has produced a string of hits from news aggregator Toutiao to short-form video app Douyin and its overseas counterpart TikTok, China’s most successful overseas app.

He tried his hand at a “plant weed” app in 2018 with the short-lived Xincao. It tried again in 2020 with Sharee, aimed at overseas markets. Later renamed Lemon8, the app has over a million downloads in Japan and has expanded to Thailand.

Lemon8 is exploring the possibility of expanding into Australia, two people at the company told Reuters.

The app is overseen by Alex Zhu, senior vice president of product and strategy at ByteDance and a former head of TikTok, the two people said, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to media.

“ByteDance is very determined to break into the ‘high end’ market (with Kesong and Lemon8) to achieve higher ARPU,” one of the people said, referring to average revenue per user.

ByteDance did not respond to a request for comment.

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Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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