Chinese Social E-commerce App Xiaohongshu Hires New CFO From Citigroup

Chinese social e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, or Red, has hired a new chief financial officer as it weighs a public listing in the US as early as this year, according to reports.

The Shanghai-based firm verified that it has appointed Yang Ruo, former managing director at the TMT investment banking team of Citigroup in Hong Kong, according to media outlet Jiemian.

Yang Ruo will be responsible for Xiaohongshu’s overall financial strategy and bookkeeping duties, the company added.

However, the firm responded that it has no plans for an initial public offering for now. The seven-year-old company is backed by tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, as well as GSR Ventures and GGV Capital.

Investors previously suggested an IPO could value Xiaohongshu at more than $10 billion, up from its most recent private valuation of $6 billion, according to tech news site The Information, adding that the firm has discussed a potential listing in the US with several banks, but has yet to decide on the exact timing and size of the listing.

Founded by Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao in 2013, Xiaohongshu, which means “little red book”, allows users to browse, shop and post reviews in an online environment that combines social networking and e-commerce.

Tencent led the company’s $100 million Series C funding round in 2016 while Alibaba led its $300 million Series D funding round two years later.

As of December 2020, the platform has garnered more than 100 million monthly active users, thanks to a boost from users looking up and sharing food-related posts on the platform during the pandemic lockdown, according to Xinhua News.

According to Xiaohongshu, nearly 90% of its users are female, with 74% of them aged between 19 to 32. The majority of its users live in tier-1 and tier-2 cities, and tend to spend more on beauty products.

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In August 2019, Xiaohongshu was pulled from Chinese app stores for around three months after it was accused of facilitating the sale of unsafe and fake products. It re-launched after conducting an investigation and cleaning up content on the platform.