When Grace Hui moved to Los Angeles from China in 2014 and Googled the Chinese characters for "Los Angeles immigrant," the first result was Chineseinla.com.
The Chino Hills-based website, a disorganized Yelp-meets-Craigslist hybrid, was a throwback, and Hui, 29, thought some of the posts were phishing scams.
But with more than 680,000 listings, more than 350,000 registered users, 2 million monthly visits and sister sites in 15 cities, Chineseinla.com has become a teeming virtual portal to Chinese life in America. It's one of the only ways that Hui could connect to a country she couldn't understand.
"American Internet is useless to me," said Hui, who...