WeChat 2018 Strategies: China's super app WeChat bets its future on mini programs and games
The fourth annual WeChat World event was held in the super app's hometown of Guangzhou today. WeChat experts rolled out their strategies for 2018. What opportunities will it create for China's internet sector? CGTN's Ge Yunfei has the story.
When this man speaks, China's whole internet community listens. WeChat founder and president Allen Zhang spoke at the 2018 WeChat Open Class Pro, the annual conference of China's most influential social media app. He started by challenging the audience to beat his high score in the newly-launched mini game Jump-Jump; which is now overwhelmingly popular with WeChat's nearly one billion users.
ZHANG XIAOLONG FOUNDER OF WECHAT "If anyone can top my score of 3000, I invite him or her to our office to play in front of us. If they do it, they get a special reward."
WeChat has already become a super app, providing services from basic messaging to mobile payment to e-commerce and of course gaming. But Zhang says, his ultimate goal is to make WeChat the best tool on the internet. Last year, WeChat launched their "mini program" function, which can perform app-like tasks without the apps, thus saving device space. Users scan a QR code or search for the app's name to open it in WeChat. Mini program director Hu Renjie says there are now over 580 thousand mini programs and 170 million daily active users.
HU RENJIE, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER WECHAT OPEN PLATFORM "Mini program is a brand new product model which can seamlessly link the offline and the online together. Any industry who can understand the value of the mini program will benefit from it a lot, especially for the offline industries like retailing."
CHEN QI CEO AND FOUNDER OF MEILI.INC "WeChat mini-program gives us a great opportunity to approach new customers. The cost of acquiring a new customer from the mini-program is 90% lower than from our APP. I believe, with the development of WeChat mini-program platform, its ability of retaining customers will be much stronger. The mini-program will be more efficient in the future."
MATTHEW BRENNAN TECH ANALYST "The whole Eco-system of services that allow users to do pretty much anything they want without leaving WeChat, which was possible before with official accounts, but now with empowering with mini-programs, I think it's taking it one step further and really providing true native app-like experiences for a whole range of things."
WeChat has touched almost every aspect of the online-offline field, from collecting parking tolls to staff-less convenient stores. And now it's ready to enter another arena, selling collectibles like toys and fridge magnets.
GE YUNFEI GUANGZHOU "WeChat's international competitor Line is famous for its cute stickers and cartoon figures. And Line even launched its own cafeteria brand. Now at its annual conference, Wechat's WeStore makes its public debut."
Experts say WeChat has grown far beyond a messaging app in China. Their next challenge? Expanding overseas. Ge Yunfei, CGTN, Guangzhou.