Guide to social commerce in China

Top 6 Social Commerce Platforms in China [Marketer’s Guide]

Last Updated on June 11, 2024

Online shopping has surged in popularity worldwide because of the convenience brought by social commerce platforms. The ability to view and examine feedback from fellow consumers made these sales channels more credible and reliable in the eyes of modern shoppers.

China is no exception to this trend. In fact, Chinese consumers now consider the local social media landscape as a new shopping avenue, seamlessly integrating their online purchasing experiences into social engagement.

In this article, we’ll discuss how social commerce in China differs from the rest of the world and its impact on domestic consumer behavior. We’ll also tackle which platform will suit your business needs.


What is social commerce in China?

Social commerce in China is a blend of social interaction and online shopping. The country has over 1 billion internet users who aren’t just browsing. They were actively chatting, connecting, and purchasing products through their mobile devices.

This trend stems from the trust locals place in recommendations from friends, family, and influencers. An early example that stands out is watching a makeup tutorial on Douyin, where the user not only showcased a product but also provided a direct link for purchase.


Social commerce platforms in China


Over time, numerous platforms emerged from e-commerce giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and As a result, China stands at the forefront of the social commerce revolution. Today, the country maintains its position as the largest online market in the world, with an expected overall value of $1.54 trillion in 2024.


How big is social commerce in China?

Beyond the traditional e-commerce scene, China also stood out in the social commerce market. According to Yahoo Finance, this industry reached an estimated share of $475.1 billion in 2024. By 2029, experts predict that the segment will reach a market share milestone of $745.3 billion.

The continued development of Chinese social media platforms also paved the way for the market to reach an 850 million user participation rate.

Furthermore, an average Chinese internet user spends approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes daily online, nearly half of that time on a social media app. Recent surveys revealed that over 90% of these consumers expressed a strong inclination to shop through social channels.


Overview of China's social commerce market


Why Is China Leading The World When It Comes To Social Commerce?

The consistent dominance of China in the social commerce segment can be attributed to its unique digital infrastructure and consumption culture. Here are some of the reasons why the country thrives in this industry:


Unique digital and corporate infrastructure

China boasts a highly distinct digital and business infrastructure, mainly driven by two prominent domestic companies, Tencent and Alibaba Group.

These tech giants have created full-scale digital ecosystems that command a staggering 90% market share in the country’s e-commerce scene. They also cover 85% of the local social media usage and 85% of the digital payment transactions within China.


China social media and social commerce landscape


Did you know that the level of integration in these social commerce channels surpasses that of global giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and PayPal?

It’s all because their strategy allows for a seamless consumer journey. The one where users can browse through their private social feeds, stumble upon a product, swiftly order it, process payment, and have the goods on their way for delivery in just a few clicks.



Cultural nuances have played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of social commerce platforms in China. As the market grew, live streaming and mobile video apps gained popularity in the country more than in other places.

While it was initially utilized for entertainment, gaming, and social interaction, Chinese users have also embraced live streaming to relax and spend time after work.



In contrast, international social media platforms have only recently started to prioritize similar interactive features. This cultural foundation provided a solid base for social commerce to flourish, as users were already accustomed to interactive and engaging digital experiences.


What are examples of social commerce trends in the Chinese market?

1.    Gamifying the Social Shopping Experience

Gamification of marketing strategies has long been part of China’s online shopping experience. In fact, many businesses often utilize WeChat mini-programs to capitalize on the Chinese Millennials and Gen Z’s love for distinct and engaging marketing tactics.

Chinese consumers are drawn to the interactive nature of gamified shopping experiences, which add an element of fun and challenge to purchasing decisions. These games usually come in levels and reward users with badges, points, vouchers, or promos.


Guerlain social commerce gamification

Guerlain Tetris Lottery Game on WeChat


2.    Group Buying in Social Commerce Platforms

Group buying is another trend that social commerce platforms are implementing right now. They encourage users to make bulk purchases, unlock discounts, and exclusive deals.

By leveraging collective group buying, consumers can access lower prices and enjoy shared benefits. This trend fosters community and excitement as users work together to reach group buying thresholds.


Group buying in Pinduoduo


3.    Utilizing Live Commerce Common Features

Live commerce combines the convenience of e-commerce with real-time interactive user experiences. Many platforms have embraced live commerce by launching interactive marketing strategies like real-time product demonstrations and Q&A sessions.

This trend allows brands and influencers to engage directly with consumers, build trust, and showcase product features more effectively.

It offers a unique blend of entertainment, product discovery, and purchasing convenience, creating a highly engaging shopping experience.


Live streaming on social commerce platforms


4.    Cross-brand & Cross-category Business Models

Most popular platforms are willing to collaborate with multiple brands and expand their product offerings to provide consumers with a diverse and comprehensive shopping experience.

These partnerships allow consumers to discover and purchase products from various brands within a single platform, saving time and effort. Cross-brand and cross-category collaborations enhance user convenience, offer greater product variety, and encourage exploration. It enables consumers to access various options and make informed purchasing decisions.


Cross-brand Clarins and Le Petit Prince China



5.    AR and 3D Social E-Commerce Experience

Besides the obvious social media features, some e-commerce platforms go beyond what is expected with the cutting-edge technology of Augmented Reality (AR) and advanced 3D capabilities.

Users can use their mobile devices to project a true-to-life 3D projection of desired items, like a refrigerator, and place it seamlessly within their living spaces. They can assess how the product fits within their needs and make well-informed decisions. It also serves the preferences of high-income consumers, who are inclined to purchase personalized products.

Integrating AR and 3D experiences in traditional e-commerce platforms enhances the customer journey and eliminates some of the challenges associated with online shopping.


AR and 3D Social E-Commerce Experience


6 Best Social Commerce Platforms in China

1.   Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book)

The most talked-about social commerce app that took the market by storm is Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book). It first gained a reputation for reliable, authentic reviews of products aimed at women in categories like cosmetics, fashion, and beauty.

However, in recent years, the platform has expanded to different product categories. Its diversified features and services help the app to gain 260 million monthly active users.

According to Qiangua’s trend report, 72% of the platform’s users were born in the 1990s, and most of them are not from lower-tier cities.


Xiaohongshu social commerce platform China


If you want to utilize social commerce in China through this platform, here are key points you must remember about Xiaohongshu:


  • One of the most popular live-streaming and vlogging platforms
  • Engagement metrics are high – average users spend 40 minutes a day on the app
  • Jointly invested in by Tencent and Alibaba, integrated with both WeChat and Alipay
  • It allows brands to capture user interest with content and seamlessly make a conversion
  • It has a very young userbase, with 90% of its users are under 32 years old
  • Live streaming features are integrated into the social commerce platform using Taobao


2.   WeChat

WeChat is widely recognized as the all-in-one super-app in China. While it was initially launched as an instant messaging platform, it has since evolved and now offers social commerce features.

Its evolution has resulted in a complete ecosystem, from social media and e-commerce to mobile payments and video channels.


WeChat social commerce platform China


The utilization of WeChat as a social e-commerce platform brings forth several key advantages that contribute to its popularity:


  • Its extensive consumer reach makes the platform a vital marketing tool for businesses looking to tap into the local market.
  • Users can seamlessly share and recommend products within their social networks to drive engagement and facilitate word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Whether it’s unveiling new products, conducting live demos, or responding to viewer questions, WeChat Channels allow a more direct way for brands to connect with their target viewers.
  • WeChat Mini-Programs can be integrated into Channels and official accounts for a seamless consumer journey, from content discovery to purchasing.
  • Brands can accept and process digital payments from local consumers through WeChat Pay.


3.   Taobao / Tmall Platform (GuangGuang)

Taobao and Tmall have long been riding the social commerce trend through their integrated GuangGuang platform.

With a massive market share, the rise of influential live-streaming KOLs like Li Jiaqi, and a calendar of diverse sales events, these business giants have redefined online shopping and e-commerce in China.


Taobao/Tmall social commerce platform China


Key advantages of GuangGuang include:


  • Huge market share: Taobao and TMall command a significant presence in the e-commerce industry, ensuring a vast consumer base for social commerce activities.
  • Livestreaming KOLs: Influential Key Opinion Leaders like Li Jiaqi, popularly known as the “lipstick king,” have gained celebrity status through their success in social e-commerce on Taobao.
  • Retail-specific platform: Users on Taobao and TMall primarily focus on making purchases, prioritizing buying intent on its algorithm.
  • Calendar of special sales events: GuangGuang offers a diverse range of special sales events throughout the year beyond the well-known 11 festival. These events provide customers with exclusive deals and exciting shopping experiences.


4.   Pinduoduo

Another app gaining traction among social commerce platforms in China is Pinduoduo. At first glance, it may appear like a typical shopping app, but it facilitates group buying between friends and acquaintances.

It has over 500 million buyers who can access special discounts by buying as part of teams, thereby leaning heavily toward the tried-and-true digital marketing concepts of social proofing and exclusivity.


Pinduoduo social commerce platform China


Here are the perks marketers and advertisers can expect from Pinduoduo:

  • It has daily check-in bonuses for its users
  • International brands are more popular on this platform
  • It has a gamified feature with time limits for creating teams
  • Brands can retain consumer engagement through inbuilt mini-games.


5. Weibo

Often dubbed the Twitter of the local social media landscape, Weibo has defied expectations and maintained its competitive edge amidst the emergence of new and innovative platforms. Over the years, it has proven its resilience by adapting to evolving market demands.

In 2020, the app took a significant leap by transforming into a true social commerce powerhouse by introducing its e-commerce management function, Weibo Xiaodian.

With the launch of Weibo Xiaodian, Weibo gave brands a chance to go beyond simply referring users to external marketplaces. Instead, they gained direct control over inventory management, order processing, and the ability to create their digital flagship store within the platform.

This strategy enables them to establish a robust presence on Weibo, further integrating social interaction with commerce.


Weibo social commerce platform China


Weibo possesses several key strengths that contribute to its continued success:


  • Its longevity sets it apart from fleeting platforms. Weibo has demonstrated its enduring presence in social media, consistently proving it is here to stay.
  • It boasts a vast user base encompassing diverse demographics across the entire China.
  • Weibo is the most suitable platform for finding KOLs for your marketing strategy.
  • Weibo’s appeal to influential figures further solidifies its position as a significant social media platform.
  • It facilitates seamless communication between brands and customers.
  • Its ease of engagement contributes to enhanced customer experiences and strengthens brand-customer relationships.


6. Douyin

Douyin’s journey from a simple video-sharing platform to a social commerce titan is a testament to its innovative approach and understanding of consumer behavior. Today, the app integrates e-commerce features directly into its system, allowing users to purchase products without leaving the app.


Douyin social commerce platform China


Here are several key features that have enabled Douyin to become a leading social commerce platform:


  • Douyin has an in-app shopping function, allowing users to buy products directly from video content.
  • Brands and influencers can add links to their content to lead their audiences to a product page or a Douyin e-commerce store.
  • The platform grants the ability to host live shopping events where viewers can purchase products showcased during the stream.
  • Douyin utilizes advanced algorithms to analyze user behavior and preferences, providing personalized product recommendations.


Where Is Chinese Social Commerce Heading In 2024?

As we look ahead to 2024, the landscape of social commerce is set to undergo significant shifts, with emerging trends reshaping the dynamics of influence and consumer engagement. While Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) have held a dominant position in this segment, there are indications of a changing landscape.


Rise of the KOC

Since Chinese millennials and younger demographics highly value recommendations from fellow shoppers, content from Key Opinion Customers (KOCs) now holds even greater weight than those from traditional KOLs.

Unlike the typical influencer marketing strategies, KOCs are ordinary consumers who actively participate in live streams, create short videos, or engage in micro-blogging. Their focus lies primarily on reviewing products from an unbiased standpoint rather than promoting a specific brand.



The shift from Key Opinion Leaders to Key Opinion Consumers signifies a move towards more authentic and engaging content creation. As a result, consumers increasingly seek genuine opinions and recommendations from their peers.

As the social e-commerce market evolves, we expect KOCs to be increasingly influential in shaping consumer behavior and driving community-driven purchasing decisions.


Your Trusted Social Commerce Partner In The Chinese Market!

Consumers in China have unique preferences and behaviors when using social commerce platforms. To truly captivate their interest and achieve the desired marketing goals, it is crucial to customize your approach and understand the intricacies of the local market.


You may also want to read:

Top Chinese social media platforms China 2024


Don’t let the complexities of the Chinese market hold you back! Our dedicated team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, transforming your brand’s potential into a resounding success in your chosen social commerce platform.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether it’s crafting compelling marketing campaigns, harnessing the power of SEO and social media, or making waves with PR, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let’s start working together!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our latest news

Scroll to Top