In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:
- A Viral Post Exposed Problems with Buying Fake Fans in China
- Sneaker resale platform Goat launches Virtual Try-On
- Little Red Book Return to Android Store
Buying fake fans to inflate social media engagement numbers is a common practice the world over, but discussions on whether it is ethical resurfaced once again in China this week. It all started with an article exposing fake fan practices that went viral.
One Taobao vendor wrote in detail about their collaboration with an MCN company (Multi-Channel Networks), complaining they paid thousands with the promise of 1 million impressions but received zero sales. MCN replied that the actual payment was a lot less and that there were no guaranteed sales numbers mentioned in the contact. It also mentioned that the article itself has damaged the company’s reputation. The social media platform Weibo also banned the mentioned influencer from taking on any commercial projects.
Goat added a new virtual “try on” feature to let sneakerheads to try on rare or expensive sneakers before they make a purchase. “Product innovation has always been an integral part of our business, and we achieved early success in our previous AR release. After that, we realized that Try-On is a service we must provide to our users,” said Daishin Sugano, co-founder and CPO of Goat Group. Founded in 2015, Goat received approximately $100 million in investment from American sportswear retailer Foot Locker earlier this year. It launched in China in July this year. Whether it will succeed in the local market remains to be seen.
The social e-commerce platform Little Red Book, which was removed two months ago from the Android platform due to content alleged violations, has appeared once again in the Android store before Chinese Singles Day, though it is still not available on Apple's App Store. Previously, Little Red Book was accused of collecting personal information without the user's consent and publishing false and unverified information. So far, Little Red Book has exceeded 300 million total users, and the number of monthly users exceeded 100 million. More than 70% of users on the platform are post-90s and 95s, 70% of content comes are user-generated content.