As the secondhand luxury market continues to rage in China’s first- and second-tier cities, the wildfire has spread to the mobile world. Chinese tech company Shanda’s new app “Youni” (Chinese: “有你”, which roughly translates to “With You”), a cross between Chase’s QuickPay and Tencent’s WeChat, integrates mobile socialization and person-to-person payments, and has become a witness to the growing scene of exchanging and selling secondhand luxury goods in China.
Youni was officially launched in fall 2013, and is currently available on iPhone, Android, Windows, and Symbian. Similar to Tencent’s WeChat and Naver’s Line, the app provides features such as free calls, text messages, voice messages, photo and video sharing, and group chat. But what sets Youni apart from them is the feeless person-to-person fund transfer feature called “Wallet”, with a slogan that goes “We make sending money as simple as sending messages, receiving money as simple as receiving messages, and saving money as simple as saving messages.” Collaborating with a third-party payment company named Shengfutong, the app not only enables users to link their bank accounts or credit cards to mobile phones and send money, but also makes transferring funds more fun by providing personalized virtual money bills for any occasion, from holidays to birthdays to weddings. Derived from the Wallet is another interesting feature called “Reward”, which is identical to the “Like” feature on every social media, but serving as a way to give both social and money rewards. With just one click, users are able to donate money to artists or events.
In addition to transferring funds between acquaintances, buying and selling are made easy by the app’s other functions. On “Social”, a feature similar to WeChat’s “Moments” and Line’s “Timeline”, sellers can use the tab “Items” to publish information on the products for sale, including product details, price, photos, and even a 12-second video, which is visible within their social circles. Users are also able to view their inventories of items bought and sold on the app. All the features combined make Youni one of the most popular secondhand buying-and-selling social platforms in China, now topping a handsome 70 million users.
On January 13, China’s Business Press Release Newswire published an article on the growing number of secondhand luxury goods transactions on Youni. According to the article, the strong social links formed by close acquaintances, zero advertising fees, and the signature fund-transfer function are what make Youni stand out. One interviewee, “Ms. Wang” in the article, an experienced luxury goods seller on Taobao, recently saw the commercial opportunity on the app and switched to Youni for the convenient features it boasts. According to Wang, “word of mouth is very important in Youni’s circles; acquaintances refer clients to acquaintances, making it more effective than any type of advertisement. Therefore it leads to low advertising costs, which greatly increases the overall profits and makes product prices more affordable for clients.” Another interviewee named “Ms. Lee”, a luxury consumer, uses Youni to exchange pre-owned luxury goods with her friends. According to Lee, “since she was introduced to Youni, she has begun selling her used items in her social circles, and it turned out that her buddies and girlfriends have been willing to become her clients for the ‘friend’s price’."
Data on the total number of luxury transactions made on the app isn’t yet available, but Youni’s eye for money’s role in social relationships definitely makes it a major part of the expanding secondhand luxury trend on China’s social media.