One year after their launch, the results of WeChat mini-apps

by bold-lichterman

Do you know the WeChat applications? These mini-applications are very light programs (less than 10 MB), integrated into the WeChat ecosystem. They require no download, no installation and are launched directly from the messaging application developed by Tencent, the Chinese tech giant. To get a mini-app, just type its name in the search bar, scan its QR code or use a link shared by a friend on a chat.

WeChat, the “Swiss Army Knife” with 980 million active users

WeChat has become the digital “Swiss Army Knife” of almost a billion Chinese, who spend a third of their smartphone time in this environment. These small programs offer different types of services: booking tickets, ordering meals, renting a bicycle, shopping online, finding Wi-Fi, getting a translation, etc. They save users time and money. space on their phone, and Tencent to keep them in the walled-garden of their messaging, so that they only use WeChat. Competition is therefore head-on with the iOS Apple and Google Android ecosystems, which these mini-apps make it possible to bypass.

Over 580,000 mini-apps and 170 million daily active users

On the occasion of WeChat Open Class PRO, WeChat’s annual conference, held on January 15 in Guangzhou, the company took stock of the mini-apps launched a year ago. Here is the information communicated by Hu Renjie, deputy manager of WeChat Open Platform:

  • 170 million users use a mini-program every day
  • 30% of users come from cities called “First tier” (Classification system of cities in China. Tier I consists of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xi’an, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenyang, Dalian, Xiamen, Suzhou , Ningbo, and Wuxi)
  • 580,000 mini-programs online (vs. the 500,000 apps published on the App Store, from 2008 to 2012, according to Renje)
  • Over a million mini-app developers (independent and corporate)
  • Major brands have entered the niche, developing their mini-app: McDonalds, KFc, Coach, Tesla (to locate charging stations) …
  • One year after their launch the results of WeChat mini apps

Some notable use cases include by category:

Retail
The Yonghui supermarket mini-app allows you to shop and pay directly, without having to queue. Meiyijia’s mini-app1605337094 337 One year after their launch the results of WeChat mini apps

Pinduoduo mini-app

Location
The mini-app allows you to find points of interest around the user: restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, etc. Bike sharing (MobiBike) and mobile charging stations work very well.

1605337095 137 One year after their launch the results of WeChat mini apps
MobiBike min-app

Public services
The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court uploads videos to its mini-app, while the Guangzhou traffic police allow fines to be paid there. “The government does not need very large development capacities and can provide very good services to citizens through a mini-program”, according to Hu Renjie.

Mini games
The game Jump Jump drew 400 million players in three days, after being featured on the WeChat homepage, making it the country’s most popular game.