Social ecommerce platform Xiaohongshu, which boasts 85 million monthly users, has been removed from Apple App Store and all Android App Stores in China as of Monday.
The app disappeared from Android stores last week, and from the Apple App Store over the weekend. There has been no official word on a reason for the removal or when it will available again. However, Chinese newspaper The Beijing News reported that the removal was likely due to content that violated government regulations.
Xiaohongshu seemed to confirm this in a statement posted on Weibo at 3 am Thursday. The statement said the platform had launched a comprehensive investigation and "rectification" effort, and would cooperate with relevant government agencies in order to boost optimization and "upgrade of domestic internet environment".
Established in June 2013 in Shanghai, Xiaohongshu saw soaring growth in the last two years. It recently announced that by June, the number of its users has surpassed 250 million, with 85 million monthly active users. In addition, it said a total of 3 billion posts are generated each day on the platform, 70% of which are produced by users.
But disputes concerning Xiaohongshu have persisted since the start of 2019. Reports have pointed to fake posts—such as those where users praise products they have no actual experience with. Other issues have involved cigarette adverts and display of sexual or illegal drug-related content, all of which is prohibited.
Campaign found that there are over 470,000 posts on Xiaohongshu recommending health products, with the first note produced by a daigou (freelance retail consultant) suggesting six kinds of health products women aged 20 and above should eat every day. In the comments, a female user implied that a daigou lacks authority to recommend health products, and warned others to consult professional doctors.
In a report released by Xiaohongshu in July 17, the company said that the platform removed 4,285 notes that were posted by users to attract data flow every day, of which 920 are manually removed. This indicates how serious the problem is for a platform heavily reliant on user-generated content.