Tencent's WeChat Unveils 'Mini Programs'

By | Jan 10, 2017 08:46 AM EST
WeChat's mini apps do not require download or installation.

WeChat's mini apps do not require download or installation.(Photo : Getty Images)

Tencent has introduced “Mini Program” earlier this week that let users interact with apps without actually downloading or installing them.

WeChat founder Allan Zhang said that these mini apps are designed to compete against Apple's dominance in the field and possibly earn some revenue. WeChat also intends to be the leader in the apps field of the smartphone software business in the future.

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The “mini program” is composed of a collection of apps that are stored in the cloud; therefore, download or installation is not required. They are not being hosted by any app-store and can only be found within WeChat or users only need to scan the QR code in opening the apps.

The mini apps do not send notifications and subscription messages as well. It allows users to experience app-like services programs similar with iOS and Android just within the WeChat app, offering smooth usage of the app.

“Mini programs are deliberately meant to be discovered socially through friends or in the real world by scanning QR codes. There is no official app store for mini-programs,” Matthew Brennan, co-founder of China Channel and a keen watcher of how WeChat is used by businesses, said.

This latest move from Tencent’s WeChat is to make sure that users spend more time on the messaging service, thereby potentially helping Tencent become a lead app vendor. According to Chinese tech startup Kika data, Chinese users check their WeChat 14.5 times on average and spend approximately 48 minutes on social media each day.

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