Tencent WeChat mini program push takes aim at Apple in addition to Google

Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest internet company by market value, is actually on a collision course with Apple in addition to Alphabet with its aggressive push into mini mobile applications, which allow users to bypass traditional app stores in addition to run programs directly within its WeChat application.

Tencent has re-engineered the WeChat messaging app in a way which applications smaller than 10 megabytes can run instantly on WeChat’s interface. This particular is actually currently offering 580,000 mini programs after just one year of development, compared to the 500,000 mobile apps which Apple’s App Store published by 2008 to 2012, according to Hu Renjie, WeChat’s mini program director.

“The mini program is actually a brand brand new product type which can seamlessly link the offline in addition to the online together,” said Hu, adding which the mini program scheme has attracted 1 million developers.

As well as bypassing the need for app stores, mini programs offer speed of access to users because they can be loaded instantly by within WeChat on any operating system.

More by the South China Morning Post:

Tencent’s move to bundle apps within WeChat could hurt Apple in addition to Alphabet as the two US tech giants rely on their own universe of apps to enrich the use of their respective iOS in addition to Android systems.

In a measure of the size of the threat which mini programs present, WeChat already incorporates a user base of 980 million globally, which is actually larger than the population of the European Union in addition to Russia combined.

One mini program, the Jump Jump mobile game, attracted 400 million players in China in less than three days after becoming available on WeChat’s homepage, doing This particular the most favorite mobile game inside country.

Tencent recently announced which This particular had more than 170 million monthly users of its mini programs since their launch in January 2017. numerous international brands, including McDonald’s, KFC, Coach in addition to carmaker Tesla, released mini programs for WeChat inside past year, having a Tesla one allowing users to monitor the acceleration rate of their vehicle.

encent’s strategy to transform WeChat into “an app which runs apps” is actually in juxtaposition to Apple in addition to Google, who have built their own ecosystems.

The Chinese firm has already had a run-in with Apple, with the US firm updating its App Store review guidelines in April to emphasise which apps cannot offer programs in a “store or store-like interface” in addition to asking Tencent to remove a function which allowed WeChat users to pay tips to content in addition to app publishers.

Normally, in-app purchases could have to go through Apple’s payment platform, with Apple taking 30 per cent of the revenue generated. although WeChat’s tipping feature used architecture which was not designed to include Apple.

although last week, The Wall Street Journal reported which Apple in addition to WeChat had reached a deal which could allow WeChat to resume its tipping feature, while Apple could enjoy part of the profit.

Thomas Graziani, co-founder of a WeChat marketing agency start-up called WalktheChat, said the tipping feature gave WeChat “an edge over Apple”. App developers in addition to content generators could be incentivised to launch products on WeChat more so than on the App Store because of the tipping feature.

The mini program feature could also give WeChat an advantage over Google. With the Google Play app store blocked in China, there is actually a need for a centralised app market for Android users, which WeChat could meet.

although Graziani said there was still room for both platforms to exist.

“Mini programs will not replace the mobile app as you know This particular,” he said. “although they are very effective in helping apps like games to acquire brand new users.”

Graziani said mini games launched on WeChat were often simplified or shortened. Companies often released mini games as teasers for regular games inside trust which users could download the original games by the App Store.

Tencent’s domestic rivals, Baidu in addition to Alibaba Group Holding – owner of the South China Morning Post – have similar mini program features with their products, while Facebook Messenger has included instant games on its platform.

As to how much a 10-megabyte app could accomplish, Phillip Pun, founder of social networking app Plando, said: “10 megabytes can make for Great-sized software in addition to This particular can be very sophisticated.”

“The app I used to develop was just about 20 megabytes. although This particular was a full chat app in addition to social network with photo sharing capability,” he said.

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