What is Meilishuo? An Introduction to the Chinese Pinterest

By Leo Strupczewski

December 16, 2014

Go down the list of social networks driving traffic to your ecommerce business and, after counting off Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit and Twitter, you’ll quickly find yourself at… Meilishuo?

Essentially a Chinese version of Pinterest that’s more focused on ecommerce, Meilishuo has absolutely exploded as a source of traffic for ecommerce sites, according to Monetate data. Year-over-year traffic has grown 667,924.39%, from less than 100 visits in Q3 2013 to more than 270,000 Q3 2014.

No, there isn’t a typo in that sentence. Yes, that change is crazy.

And to put those traffic numbers into perspective: Meilishuo drove more sessions to ecommerce websites in Q3 2014 than Buzzfeed, Instagram or Tumblr. (All three of those networks/sites have defined advertising plays for consumer-focused brands, by the way.)

What is Meilishuo?

There’s one major distinction between Meilishuo and Pinterest: while Pinterest is aspirational, Meilishuo is transactional. Which means it’s important for ecommerce marketers to be paying attention to traffic from that site.

For more details, here is Yirong Xu, Meilishuo’s founder and CEO:

While a lot of Pinterest users in the US are women under 50 (source: Pewinterenet), Meilishuo focused on 20-35 years old white-collar and semi white-collar women only, who have the leading spending power in China. In addition, Chinese women pay more attention to commerce than generic contents. This is why we position Meilishuo as a vertical fashion platform helping users find and buy beautiful things. More than 95% of sharing contents on Meilishuo are purchasable.

(Source: TechNode)

Xu leaves out two pieces of information that may be of interest to ecommerce marketers:

  1. Meilishuo has 32 million users, with 3.3 million daily active desktop users and 1.2 million daily active mobile.
  2. Nearly 35% of Meilishuo’s users are in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

What’s driving this traffic growth?

That question is a little harder to answer.

Largely, though, it seems to be that Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly interested in Western brands. Meilishuo, for example, has strategic marketing partnerships with brands like L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Intel. Meanwhile, Internet Retailer recently highlighted the organic growth that Stuart Weitzman, the luxury shoe designer, saw on the site. (The brand did no marketing on the network; Meilishuo’s user base created the demand.)

The takeaway here? Regardless of whether you plan on building a go-to-market strategy for China, it’s likely that your brand is already there. You’ll want to know where, with who and why. And then you’ll want to be providing a personalized experience for those individuals.

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Pin illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.

Leo Strupczewski is a former Content Marketing Manager for Monetate. A former journalist, Leo has helped media companies, professional services firms, and business-to-consumer brands identify stories that resonate with their target audiences and to integrate those stories into an organization’s business objectives. He is passionate about technology, but owns a typewriter.

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