Starting off as a simple messenger app, WeChat has now become the 5th most-used app in the world with over 1.16 billion MAU according to statists. Tencent hopes to go beyond social networking and transform WeChat into an enclosed all-in-one ecosystem for its users. A huge part of this strategy is one of WeChat’s newer functions, The WeChat Mini Program.
How WeChat Mini Program is leading the future trend?
WeChat is the biggest social network in China which is a must-learn to exceed at work or win business in China. To help you understand more about the business behind WeChat and use WeChat Mini Program to test your ideas, Le Wagon offers a nine-week part-time product development coursefor you. (click to know more).
WeChat Mini programs are diverse in their appearance, features, and purpose. However, they can mostly be classified into 4 distinct groups: Games, News, Utility, and E-Commerce.
01 WeChat Mini Games
First introduced on 28 December 2017, WeChat Mini Games are miniature games within WeChat that can be accessed through the discover tab with no installation.
There are currently over 7,000 mini games and over 100 million DAU. In December 2018, the average daily usage is 6.4 times and daily average online time is 17.4 minutes according to Aldzs.com.
The current market size for WeChat Mini Games is 60 billion RMB and is expected to continue growing in the future. As mini-games account for 15% of the top-100 WeChat Mini Programs in May 2019, third-highest by industry segments, it could be a good start for those interested in developing Mini Programs.
02 Utility & Transport
Since the introduction of WeChat Pay in 2013, Tencent has been promoting it as ‘more than an e-payment system’. This goal has been realized as WeChat has grown into an all-in-one platform.
In 2018, WeChat’s DAU for bus service exceeded 200 million and WeChat’s DAU for metro service was over 50 million (From annual WeChat Conference 2019 ‘With Us’). On average, 250 thousand users use WeChat QR Code to access bus or metro services every minute during morning rush hour.
Apart from public services and public transit, there are many other online services that can be done with utility WeChat Mini Programs. For businesses that provide utility service, WeChat Mini Programs offer easily accessible online services.
03 News & Information
Following the trend of new media, WeChat has become an effective channel for content distribution. With the large user base of WeChat, the spread of information is much more efficient than traditional channels such as newspapers and media sites.
Under this new form of media, non-traditional sources and channels of information have become available, the most popular being the so-called “We Media” (also called self-media). We Media refers to the personalized and democratized blog and media providers hosted on China’s online platforms in general. These communicators can take the form of a blogger, a Youtuber, a Podcast host or a member of a Group Chat, etc. In China, everyone can create their own information channel.
While WeChat Official Account serves as a channel for releasing updates, WeChat Mini Programs serve as a platform for interacting with users. Like news media, constant updates on Official Account and mini-programs keep users informed and newly released information can be spread rapidly through sharing on WeChat Moments and group chats.
WeChat Mini Programs have become a new channel for e-commerce in China and 18% of the Mini Programs on WeChat are dedicated to this category. Exploring the potentials of e-commerce Mini Programs will be a vital step to further commercializing WeChat.
WeChat serves as a great platform O2O due to the large DAU base and its smooth integration with WeChat Pay. This is why well-known shopping platforms like JD.com, Xiaohongshu, and Meituan also have their own WeChat Mini Programs. These Mini Programs serve a complementary function to their standalone apps.
The only difference is that with Mini Programs, customers can quickly complete a closed-loop purchase process without ever leaving WeChat.
Future Trends of WeChat Mini Programs
WeChat Mini Programs cover more than 200 industries and continue to rise in number. In 2018, the WeChat-driven information consumption was 240.2 billion RMB and traditional consumption was 419.8 billion RMB. Meanwhile, WeChat created 22 million job openings in the same year according to QQ News.
Tencent has been steadily reducing the barriers to entry for non-Chinese, allowing international businesses to create their own WeChat Mini Program. With this direction in mind, it’s likely WeChat will continue its efforts to further explore the overseas market.
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