The next phase of WeChat

The next phase of WeChat

User growth is cooling, but that’s expected given the super app’s enormous base. An app universe Two years ago, WeChat made a move that would speed up its evolution from a simple app into an all-in-one platform. To date, there are over 1 million such lite-apps and 200 million people access them every day, an achievement that inspired other tech giants to follow suit. WeChat will in turn factor those reviews into search results, akin to how the App Store works. Governments have also warmly embraced WeChat as part of a national effort to streamline public services. “After all, WeChat has more use cases, from social networking to payments, so local governments find it closer to people’s lives,” a third-party mini program developer for government services told TechCrunch, asking not to be named because the person wasn’t allowed to discuss the matter publicly. New growth fuel The world is watching when China’s most used app will hit its wall on user growth. Many of them turn out to love mini games, which are part of the mini-program universe. have surpassed 400 million monthly users. Curiously, WeChat hasn’t pushed monetization aggressively despite commanding a gigantic user base.

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Thousands of people gathered Wednesday night in a southern Chinese city for Zhang Xiaolong, Tencent’s low-key executive who built WeChat eight years ago. It’s no longer adequate to call the app a messenger, for it now enables myriads of functions that infiltrate Chinese people’s private and public lives.

It wasn’t just the tech circles tuning into the event. Civil servants, real-estate agents, salon owners, fruit vendors, teachers, artists — anyone who use WeChat to facilitate daily work — watched attentively for news and tips that came out of the annual conference.

Zhang, nickname Allen, is by nature a hardcore product manager. He went to great lengths during his 4-hour speech telling people productivity is WeChat’s holy grail, and that he wants to make user sessions “short and efficient.” He called out apps obsessed with keeping users on, which many may agree include ByteDance’s video app TikTok and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.

wechat growth
wechat growth

That’s a tough sell, though, for WeChat is anything but a disposable tool. The app now boasts over 1 billion daily users. 750 million of them open WeChat Moments, a scrolling feed of friends’ updates, each day during which they check it more than 10 times. User growth is cooling, but that’s expected given the super app’s enormous base. In addition to being a social network, the juggernaut has also devised a host of new features that may generate more eyeball time — and help it maintain meaningful growth.

An app universe

Two years ago, WeChat made a move that would speed up its evolution from a simple app into an all-in-one platform. It rolled out so-called mini programs, which are stripped-down versions of native apps with only core features in exchange for smaller size and quicker access. To date, there are over 1 million such lite-apps and 200 million people access them every day, an achievement that inspired other tech giants to follow suit.

Zhang said from the outset that mini apps weren’t meant to replace regular apps, for the latter provide a more…

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