Quick Comparison of Chinese Beauty Platforms
This is is a quick, non-exhaustive overview of platforms that cover beauty in China. The App Annie rankings refer to iOs platform in China taken on 12th July 2015. The Alexa rankings are from the same date and likewise only apply to China.
The most interesting finding for me is that all these platforms have “free to try” programs for cosmetics. The way they work is that users have to earn points by being active in the community. They then can use those points to get free products to try out. So, it’s a bit similar to beauty boxes, except that it’s not subscription-based.
Meila is a mobile-first platform that was founded by a team of ex-Tengxun employees, led by Zhang Bo. They started in 2013 as a beauty e-commerce business, but quickly realized that this space was already too competitive (see Lefeng below). They then turned to the social network model, app-only. Recently, they expanded their platform to include the web, though. It ranks #15 on mobile in Health and Fitness.
There is only scant information on the background of this website. It is the only one of all platforms covered here that does not have an app. But it seems to be pretty popular nevertheless. It was started in 2012 and has an Alexa ranking of around 4,500.
Guimi Wang (闺蜜网)
Started by a guy named Zhang Yaohui (张耀辉) way back in 2007, Guimi is another popular destination for beauty-loving Chinese women. It appears this company was later acquired by CBS Interactive China, which also owns LadyOnly. Guimi Wang has a pretty high App Annie ranking of 133 in Health and Fitness and also a high Alexa ranking at 168.
Piaopiao Wang (漂漂网)
This platform was founded by Li Shengbing (李胜兵), a former executive of one of the biggest and oldest Chinese social networks called Tianya. It was started in around 2011 and has an Alexa ranking of about 4,100.
Lefeng is not just a social network, but also an e-commerce company that has its own cosmetic brands. Behind Jumeiyoupin, it is the second-largest online beauty retailer. It was founded by Li Jing (李静), a former TV host. It has a mobile Lifestyle ranking of 146 and a web ranking of about 9,100.
There are various beauty & fashion magazines that have big & active user communities. One of the oldest and most renowned is Ruili (瑞丽). LadyOnly has already been mentioned previously. Some others are 爱美女性网, 爱丽时尚 and 都市客. Last but not least, there is the media giant iFeng, which has a separate beauty & fashion category. And so does Taobao.