Weibo testing new social lifestyle app, Oasis
Why it matters: The launch of the new app may help microblogging platform Weibo fend off competition from Xiaohongshu, which has been facing criticism over misleading content in recent months.
- Xiaohongshu, also known as RED in overseas markets, was pulled from major Chinese Android stores in July and later from Apple’s China App Store in August. It is unclear when the app will be made available again for download.
“Weibo itself is only for broadcast and does not have an e-commerce function, making them lag behind in terms of the current social commerce rise… I would assume Oasis would have a e-commerce function that allows a user to look at influencers on their page, and click on “buy” button, much like what Pinterest/Instagram is doing overseas. Hence, I believe it’s Weibo intention to create a different tool to have a different image and also ride on the social commerce rise.”
—Justin Teo, chief experience officer of Geometry China, an end-to-end commerce agency
Details: Lvzhou, or Oasis in English, is a hybrid of Instagram and Xiaohongshu in layout and major features.
- Users can browse content based on interests and find like-minded friends in various fields such as fashion, food, travel, and beauty.
- The app does not have e-commerce functionality at this stage, but its social sharing features are similar to Xiaohongshu, for which e-commerce is a core business function.
- They can also share and edit their photos and videos with a variety of filters, as well as add featured tags to their content.
- The app is now being tested by users that are invited to trial. Users can log in via their mobile number, Weibo, WeChat, or QQ account.
- User reviews on Apple’s China App Store praised the app for its uncluttered layout and ad-free content.
Context: Weibo went public in the US in 2014 after spinning off from Chinese tech firm Sina in the same year.
- Both Weibo and Xiaohongshu have strong tie-ups with Alibaba, which is an investor and major client for both of the platforms.
- Alibaba invested $585.8 million in Weibo through Ali WB, its wholly owned subsidiary, for an approximately 18% stake in 2013. In June last year, Xiaohongshu has completed its Alibaba-led Series D worth $300 million which led to a valuation of $3 billion.
- After being pulled from the stores, Xiaohongshu has started a “comprehensive round of self-review and self-reform” to cooperate with regulators.