WeChat touts success of 580,000 ‘mini-programs’ now in use

World Today

WeChat is focused on the future. Tencent’s super app rolled out its strategies for 2018 at its fourth annual WeChat World event. Going beyond payment and messaging, the app wants to create new opportunities for China’s internet sector.

CGTN’s Ge Yunfei reports.

When Allen Zhang speaks, China’s whole internet community listens. The WeChat founder and president spoke at the 2018 WeChat Open Class Pro, the annual conference of China’s most influential social media app.

He started by challenging the audience to beat his high score in the newly-launched mini game ‘Jump-Jump,’ which is a hit with WeChat’s nearly one billion users.

“If anyone can top my score of 3,000, I invite him or her to our office to play in front of us,” Zhang told the crowd. “If they do it, they get a special reward,”

WeChat has become a super app, providing services ranging from basic messaging to mobile payment to e-commerce, and of course gaming.

Zhang said, however, he wants to make WeChat even more widely used. Last year, WeChat launched their ‘mini-program’ function, which can perform app-like tasks without the apps, saving space on devices. Users scan QR codes in real-world locations, or search for the app’s name, to open it in WeChat.

According to mini-program director Hu Renjie, there are now over 580,000 mini-programs and 170 million daily active users.

“Mini-program is a brand new product model which can seamlessly link the offline and the online together,” Hu said. “Any industry who can understand the value of the mini-program will benefit from it a lot, especially for the offline industries like retailing.”

Companies like Meili Inc. said the cost of acquiring a new customer using a mini-program is 90 percent lower compared to using their own app.

WeChat has touched almost every aspect of the online-offline field, from collecting parking tolls to staff-less convenient stores. Now, it’s even ready to enter another arena: selling collectibles and other items on its WeStore.

Experts said even though WeChat has grown far beyond a mere messaging app in China, one of their biggest challenges will be expanding overseas.

Sue Xu discusses WeChat’s plans for worldwide expansion