The Chinese app WeChat is also becoming more and more famous even in the west. It has now over 1 billion MAU (monthly active users). Out of that astonishing number of users, 50% of them spend over 90 minutes per day inside the app, giving WeChat an immense amount of consumer data. This app is a must-have for marketers in China. Besides WeChat Official accounts, we also often talk about WeChat mini-programs on our website, do you really know what is that? This article will provide you with specific information about WeChat mini-programs.
WeChat is the first social media app in China and the most used app for communication. China has some of the highest mobile Internet usage rates in the world. Remarkably, more than half of the time spent online on smartphones is on WeChat.
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However, WeChat is not just an app. Developed by Tencent, WeChat has many features: it can send texts or vocal messages, take photos and videos, send locations to friends, pay for shopping or rent, make an appointment to the doctor, and many others. WeChat brings together all of the most useful features in Chinese life in one single app.
With around 80% of users following a brand on WeChat, it has become a powerful marketing tool as well for individual entrepreneurs as international companies. Businesses have been quick to adapt, with more than a fifth of Chinese companies having WeChat accounts.
Indeed, to market in China, you can create your brand’s account on WeChat to keep in touch with your Chinese target consumers. A WeChat official account is a kind micro-website, where you can post news, put your contact information, create an event, even open a WeChat Store for selling. What makes WeChat better than any other social media platform is that when you upload new things, WeChat Service Account messages will display in a user’s main feed – the same place their friends and family messages arrive – so it’s even more important that they are personal and relevant than other social media accounts where messages show on a generic feed Every person who is following your account will be noticed.
Mini-program on WeChat, what is it?
Everyone in China uses WeChat daily. It’s the must-have APP here. Since January 2017, a new system has been integrated into WeChat: mini-programs. This new feature can be described as a kind of “sub-application”. That is one app inside another (in this case, WeChat). Mini-programs can therefore be compared to “mini-apps” built into the WeChat app itself. As a result, users will no longer have to use or download new apps because they may already be in WeChat!
One of the reasons for WeChat mini-programs popularity is because of its convenience (Chinese people love useful and convenient things). Mobile apps take up a lot of space in the device’s storage. It may happen that some Chinese won’t want to download your app because it would allow them to store fewer photos for example. Especially if they are not regular customers. Mini-apps are taking less space, are more convenient, but are also faster. Your customers are therefore likely to prefer this mini-program to your original app.
One year after its launch, there were already more than 580,000 mini-programs created. The rhythm in which mini-programs have developed is spectacular. Learn how to launch yours here.
Tencent keeps developing its major weapon WeChat
Mini-program bring AI to a physical store
On June 12, WeChat broadcasted a live stream talk on how its mini-programs utilize AI and Big Data to improve user experience in the food and beverage industry.
For example, the world well-known brand Pizza Hut collaborates with Tencent to create a concept restaurant that allows consumers to order through led menus placed around the store or through their WeChat mini-program. Pizza Hut uses mini-programs to bring Robots to life, which are connected to the system and can deliver the orders to the table of the guests. WeChat mini-programs also allow the guests to interact throughout the entire Pizza Hut restaurant.
WeChat Mini-programs can sometimes be more powerful than an app
Did you ever think about turning off the light of your room without moving? well, WeChat’s ecosystem allowed it. For hotels that are most forward-thinking in serving their growing Chinese consumers, they are finding that leveraging the WeChat ecosystem provides them with more ways to serve their guests. To go far beyond booking, Caesar’s Entertainment’s Linq Hotel in Las Vegas partnered with WeChat to create America’s first “connected hotel suite”. Tourists can control almost every aspect of the room like the temperature setting, the lighting, the coffee maker through WeChat.
What are the limits of WeChat?
- It isn’t an open platform like Weibo, which means it’s less viral.
- Despite the hype, WeChat commerce is still tiny compared to China’s traditional online shopping channels. A big reason is that there are fewer opportunities for consumers to review, compare and provide feedback effortlessly like on Taobao/Tmall or JD.
- There is a need to respect some standards when you are managing your WeChat official account and creating articles. Moreover, Chinese people often follow several accounts on WeChat. To stand out and catch consumer’s attention, you need to know well your Chinese consumer’s behaviors, and the marketing insights in China.
In fact, there are a lot of opportunities to develop a business in China. Thanks to the digitalization of society and the new marketing tools. China has a lot of booming industries and represents a huge market, this is the most point that is attracting a lot of investors and entrepreneurs here. However, in China, you really need to be faster than others to get the market share as the pace of business is very fast and the environment is constantly evolving.
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