01-09-17 : The day WeChat shook the mobile world in China

By 9 January 2017 Actualité, WeChat No Comments

Today is the day. Not in Europe, not in the USA, but in China.
Today, WeChat launched the mini-programs, with the goal to connect a step further the offline and the online worlds.


When we settled in Shanghai, in early 2015, we wanted to bring our historical activity in China : mobile APP development.
However, we quickly faced the very same objection when talking to retailers or brands : an APP ? what for, we already have WeChat.

And indeed, WeChat has eaten up the mobile world in China. With 768 millions daily active users, WeChat became an omnipotent mogul.
However, this domination suffered some (small) pitfalls :

  • Created at the origin to allow customer support, Service Accounts were at the end of the day used a very different way by brands
  • These accounts could not create the same stickiness than mobile APPs, diluting brand notoriety in a mix of private and public chat threads

This morning, WeChat released the mini-programs (not to call them « APPs »).

They are based on a Wechat framework using JavaScript, CSS and a proprietary markup language close to HTML.
They are hosted on Tencent cloud servers, no need to download them on your smartphone.
They can be sent in a group chat, leveraged by QRCode, or searched through a directory. To discover a mini-program, you need to know his name.

For now, there is no kind of official AppStore, but 3rd party stores have already emerged.


With this last feature, WeChat looks more and more like an integrated OS. Step by step, Tencent is reducing the need for users to leave WeChat APP.
The next major step should be, logically, a move towards a WeChat powered phone.

To find out more about mini-programs, download the following document made by our Shanghai office

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