From Cultural Clout to Edutainment, China’s Xiaohongshu Is The Top App for Chinese Travelers

How are Chinese travelers choosing where to go and what to do? For many, these answers are sourced through one app: Xiaohongshu.

In 2019, tourists from mainland China made 155 million trips abroad, spending a total of $255 billion on travel, according to consultancy McKinsey. And while Covid-19 has slowed Chinese international outbound travel over recent years, the nation’s reopening in January this year offers hope that outbound travel will normalize by mid-2024.

Many affluent Chinese travelers, defined by McKinsey as those with a monthly household income exceeding RMB 38,000 ($5,200), continue to exhibit a strong interest in EU destinations.

But more importantly, how are Chinese travelers choosing where to go and what activities to do at these destinations? For many, these answers are sourced through one app: Xiaohongshu.

Crowd-sourced recommendations

“When I booked my hotel in Paris, I left a message saying that I want to book a certain room number to get the best view,” says Gloria Luo, who was sent to Germany while working for a Chinese company in Shenzhen. “The hotel staff asked me why all the Chinese people would book rooms on this floor and I told them that we Chinese have a special app where we share information for traveling to other countries.”

That app is Xiaohongshu. Whenever Luo travels, her research process starts there. The app boasts over 200 million monthly active users, many of whom have high purchasing power.

And it works. Düsseldorf in Germany has a population of 650,000 and is generally dwarfed by neighboring city Cologne due to the latter’s tourist attractions. But in 2021, Düsseldorf became an unexpected travel hotspot for Chinese travelers largely due to Xiaohongshu. In the latter part of 2021, a “weekend getaway to Düsseldorf ” emerged as a prominent trend on Xiaohongshu, according to Rest of World. The app would recommend Düsseldorf’s local Chinese restaurants and its users would take note, as the “Xiaohongshu effect” took place. Continue to read the full article here

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