We use a large number of social media apps every day, but some of them are geographical location specific and famous among people of one or a few countries. One such program is WeChat which is immensely popular in China. You might not have heard of it, but it is the lifeline of the social media buffs in the country.
What is Wechat and why is so important in China?
WeChat came into existence back in 2011. Started as a chat messenger, in just six years the application has grown into the most preferred social media application in China. The app now provides so many services in one place that you do not have to go to another app for anything. Currently, there are nearly 1 billion users that active on the application every month.
WeChat offers a large number of services rather than just providing a space to communicate. The users can do almost anything on the application. They can order food, play games, chat, make video calls, book appointments with a doctor or other service providers and read the news among many other tasks.
Some of the most popular services offered by WeChat are Messaging, Official accounts, Moments, WeChat Pay payment services, City services, heat map, Friend seek, News search, WeChat out and one of the fastest growing services that are WeChat Mini-Programs.
What is WeChat Mini-Programs and how is it used?
In our phones, there are applications that they hardly use. Some of these apps are not accessed even for months, but they are consuming space and resources just because we may need them at some given point in future. WeChat had introduced a feature by the name WeChat mini-programs back in Jan 2017 During CES. What it does is, it provides a platform to service providers to launch a mini-program within the WeChat app that can be used by the users by accessing WeChat account.
That means, if you want to order a burger from McDonald’s, you do not have to keep the app on your phone. All you need to do is to access the mini-program offered by the company from WeChat and complete the order. This feature not only increases the amount of time spent on WeChat but also allow the service providers to increase the reach to nearly 1 billion WeChat users in one go.
Can WeChat Mini-Programs be useful for regular users?
There are many instances where you can develop a mini-program to keep up with the daily tasks at hand. For example, you can manage your official WeChat account, reply to comments, check analytics, etc. Also, you can use a program to manage group profiles.
Pros and Cons of WeChat mini-programs
First of all, let’s talk about the pros of the mini-programs:
- Mini-programs remove the need to install multiple applications that you do not use on a daily basis.
- It saves power and resources on your smartphone.
- No mess icons needed. Just one app icon on your smartphone (Wechat icon). You can access very easily.
- You don’t need quit Wechat and can access every service from your WeChat dashboard.
- You can launch your program easily to communicate and introduce e-commerce platform for the users.
- A huge marketing group (there is nearly 1 billion Wechat user).
- Super App is the future.
Now let’s discuss some cons of the feature:
- It is not possible to send push notifications from the mini-programs
- It is not possible to share the mini-programs on WeChat timeline
- All the updates have to be passed by Tencent before they start to show up in the mini program.
- WeChat mini-programs do not work on the web-app browser.
Topmost WeChat mini-programs
Despite the few cons this system has, the number of users, as well as service providers, is increasing every day who are now relying majorly on mini-programs in China. The following are the few examples that are the top WeChat Mini-Programs list.
- Hangzhou Plus: It is a mini-program designed completely in the English language. This program is designed to help the expats in making their lives easier in Hangzhou.
- McDonald’s Discount Coupons: The world famous burger chain McDonald’s has its mini-program which is quite famous among the residents of China. You can avail good discounts while ordering food from this program.
- Tencent Surveys: This mini-program allows you to create and share your surveys with the contact list.
- Mobile: It is a mini program for bike share app. It works in sync with the actual app perfectly.
- Sleepy Sounds: This application is designed for those who like to listen to soothing sounds like birds or a purring cat while going to sleep.
- Bus Time Checker: It is one of the most practical mini-programs. It allows you to scan a QR code and check the timing of the next bus on a bus stop.
- China Air Quality: It is one of the simplest mini-programs that are very effective as well. It provides you information about the air quality in your area.
- Apartment Price Checker: This mini-program allows you to check the expected cost of the apartment you are living in.
- Tencent Video: The video app by Tencent is quite heavy. This is the lighter version of the app with most of the features intact.
- Photo Filters: If you have used Prisma, this is the Chinese version of the app. It is a light mini program that allows you to play with the photographs in your camera roll.
WeChat Mini-Programs are applications inside the WeChat ecosystem. These programs not only help the users to save space, power, and resources on the phone but also help the WeChat Mini-Programs to increase the user time on the main application. The competitor companies like Facebook, Google, etc. are trying hard to compete with this system as WeChat has already reached a potential of 1 billion monthly users which makes it the biggest competitor of the social media platforms like Facebook.