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Tencent is now offering more than 580,000 mini programs on its WeChat messaging platform just one year after their launch, according to statements made by program director Hu Renjie at the WeChat Open Class PRO event in Guangzhou last week.

For context, the App Store offered just 500,000 iOS apps from 2008 to 2012. Mini programs are stripped-down apps that can be launched within WeChat’s messaging interface, eliminating the need for consumers to download them separately. Currently, more than 170 million consumers use mini programs on a daily basis.

Consumers and developers alike are warming to the mini-app model within WeChat.There are now more than 1 million mini-program developers, up from 200,000 in May 2017. This rapid adoption has enabled WeChat’s mini-program ecosystem to flourish, with mini programs available across a number of categories, including retail, e-commerce, and government services. Furthermore, 95% of e-commerce platform brands have created a mini app.

WeChat’s platform of over half a million apps could threaten traditional app stores in China. That’s because mini programs can be instantly loaded directly within the WeChat app, which helps to keep a majority of users’ smartphone interactions within the chat app.For WeChat users, the app acts as a central hub to the digital world — consumers use it to perform tasks ranging from texting and calling friends, to paying bills for goods and services, to booking doctor appointments.

The added convenience of having a chat app that hosts mini-app-like experiences could give WeChat an advantage over Google and Apple.

  • With Google Play blocked in China, there’s demand for a centralized app market for Android users that WeChat is aiming Read More Here