What are WeChat mini programs?

WeChat is the largest social network application in China with more than 900 million active users. It was launched by Tencent, the multi-billion dollar internet company, four years ago as a way to message people over the Internet.

Today, the services available on WeChat are so integrated that the application has become a “one stop shop” for Chinese users. With the development of mini programs, WeChat users can video chat, shop, play games, make mobile payments, order food, read the news, schedule a doctor appointment, share their location, and do much, much more.

So what exactly are WeChat “mini programs”? Earlier this year, WeChat introduced embedded apps for users that do not require any download or installation before using their functions. Users can access and engage these apps directly within a new panel inside WeChat, providing them with their app fix alongside their social media experience. The value to WeChat users is endless.

Besides chatting by video, playing games, and embedding multimedia content in social media, the most important function is that is allows users to connect their banking with their WeChat accounts so that they can shop in specific WeChat micro-stores and make payments online. This combination of e-commerce in a single social platform alongside the ease of payment (e-wallet) is extraordinary.

Mini programs have advanced WeChat to be the most powerful social platform in China; it accounts for 30% of all mobile online time spent in China. For branding and business, mini programs present a huge opportunity to target a captive audience that has historically favored built-in WeChat services over external ones. It has changed the face of the app market in China and is having ramifications globally.

As WeChat’s prominence grows and outshines the Western competition, more businesses are capitalizing on the infrastructure. It allows them to target a significant number of potential consumers that are all in one place and are all highly engaged. Additionally, by combining embedded apps with official accounts, users are engaged for longer periods of time and at multiple entry points.

Brand marketing and communication can be developed within the mini programs and link directly to official accounts. Since the programs are accessed through a panel within WeChat, where hundreds of millions of people go regularly to post photos or links to their “Moments” newsfeed, users are likely spending even more time in WeChat.

Mini programs and a presence on WeChat are arguably more important and effective than an organization’s official website. Some of the top mini programs are those that share discount coupons, create surveys, track bus schedules, check best prices, check air quality, and filter photos.

The real value and purpose of mini programs is in advancing O2O (online to offline) transactions and interactions, essentially connecting WeChat and the real world in more effective ways.

With mini programs constantly growing, WeChat has become more than a simple platform for instant messaging and mobile service. It is a well-designed, leading platform for the Chinese market, including startups, to promote their brand. Thus, WeChat mini programs present a great opportunity to intelligently brand, adapt, and be successful in the Chinese market. To learn more about how Tolmao Group can help to utilize these programs to serve your business, visit http://www.tolmaogroup.com.

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