Tencent Launches ‘Mini Programs’ for WeChat, Which Feel Like Real Applications

11 Jan

By Aditya Srivastava, The Tech Portal

China’s most used Internet portal, Tencent, has made a go in the field of mobile apps, or rather, apps within WeChat — China’s most successful chat app with over 846 million monthly users. Tencent has introduced a beta program for the new breed of applications, which are basically a simplified and unvarnished version of Android and iOS apps, which can be quickly downloaded, run as well as stored within WeChat.

The applications mini-programs are not stored on any central location however, and are instead available through third-party means.

Tencent’s ‘mini programs’ resemble an actual app in many aspects. However, Google won’t allow it to be termed as ‘app’, so its being called mini programs. It is very much relied on the success and popularity of WeChat, which is without a doubt, China’s most popular app, with hundreds of million of users. These programs provide very light functionality at present, but that could well change with time.

The mini programs are not being hosted by any app-store, neither Google’s nor Apple’s. Therefore, these applications could only be found within WeChat, or could be accessed by scanning a QR code.

Smartphone users and apps have an interesting relationship. 85% of total web browsing is done within the apps, found a study by Nielsen, but most of  its share is concentrated to less then a dozen apps. Very less time is devoted to downloading of apps, and even if an app seeks attention and gets installed, it may not interest the user for a long time. Studies said that 25% people discard a news app after a single session.

Facebook has also entered the field of in-app interaction by bringing instant games for Messenger. These games could be played inside the app itself, however, WeChat’s mini program has the potential to take this concept to a whole new level. They are easy to download like bots, and yet the app like features would keep the users engrossed.

Though Facebook and other apps are working for in-app interaction, WeChat has made some advances in the field already, and may prove to have complete dominance in the coming days, where mini programs would be a part of any WeChat undertaking in future. WeChat has a huge bunch of users and the Mini Programs are suited for both Android and iOS WeChat users.