The lifestyle-sharing app Xiaohongshu will launch a new feature that will expand the social interaction element of the platform.
Users can access the new feature under the “group chat” drop-down menu accessible from the Messages tab on the app. Here users can choose either to create a new group chat or navigate to the “group chat plaza”, where users can browse different discussions in a grid display. Within the group chat plaza, users can browse through “Selected group chats” or filter according to interest groups such as work, education, food, relationships, makeup and beauty, fashion, etc.
Xiaohongshu already has a restricted one-to-one private chat function, which only allows users to chat with 5 strangers on the app a day. Group chats greatly expand the social capacity on Xiaohongshu function much like chatrooms, allowing up to 500 strangers to interact via instant messaging at any one time. Unlike private groups on Facebook where users have to request to join and be approved by a member of the admin, users can enter group chats on Xiaohongshu with one click.
When creating a new group chat users can choose to link it to their own post already published, such that when users browse group chat in the group chat plaza, they can see the original post it is attached to help them judge if they are interested in joining the chat.
The new feature creates the opportunity for users to create communities for bonding over niche interests, potentially encouraging users to dedicate more of their time to the app. Likewise, influencers and retailers benefit from the new feature as the buzz generated in group chats can increase traffic to their profiles and help convert traffic into purchases.
Recent weeks have seen multiple platforms attempt to diversify their functionality, such as the short video platform Douyin releasing e-commerce and messaging features. Short video platforms are an increasingly popular digital marketing channel for advertisers, meaning Xiaohongshu has to work harder to attract advertisers to the platform to generate revenue. The new group chat feature forms part of the app’s strategy to keep up with the rapidly evolving competition.