WeChat's new 'mini' function gives Apple's app store a run for its money

WeChat app icon
WeChat app icon (Image credit: WeChat)

There are quite a number of big-name apps out there in regards to China's massive mobile social media network, but the king of kings is probably WeChat with more than 768 million active users as of 2016.

While the app acts as a communication device between users, recently WeChat launched something called Xiaochengxu, which translates to 'mini programs'. What are these mini programs exactly? Well they're essentially downloadable apps, meaning that the app store has a lil' bit of competition.

So what kind of 'mini programs' can I download?

Tencent Holdings Ltd that acts as WeChat's parent company said that they've seen responses and interest come from a number of different retailers and merchants, a variety of airlines, a number of different hotels, as well as some travel agencies.

Are they going to cost money to download?

This isn't 100% clear yet, or if the store in the WeChat app is covered by Apple's 30% cut.

So this is unique to WeChat?

Nope, not at all. Baidu from China launched something incredibly similar called the 'Light App' which essentially does the same thing.

Is this going to kill the app store?

Only time will tell, but it's hard to imagine something like this having as much variety as the app store does.

What do you think?

Do you think this app store inside an app idea is genius, or just downright useless? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau

2 Comments
  • I think is only for mainland China, not for U.S.
  • I cannot imagine any scenario where I would want to use this feature. I think the single most important feature of Apple's ecosystem is Trust, where I trust Apple. Who are these folks and why should I trust them? There are a lot of bad actors and very curious state players that I really don't want inside my phone.