Alibaba launches $300m reward scheme for mini-programmes

As the company plays catch-up with rival Tencent

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Alibaba launches $300m reward scheme for mini-programmes

Alibaba has launched a RMB 2 billion (roughly $300 million) reward scheme for developers and companies to use its mini-programme platforms – including Alipay, Taobao, Dingtalk, and AutoNavi, the company announced today at the Alibaba Cloud Summit in Beijing.

The scheme will be divided into two parts, technology subsidies and operational subsidies, which allow developers and companies to use Alibaba’s various technologies and services at a discount. It’s the company’s latest move amid an escalating battle for user screen time against other Chinese internet giants.

He Wenqian, a mobile internet analyst at Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys, told KrASIA that mini-programmes, or sub-applications which also exist in the apps of Baidu, Tencent, and ByteDance, are becoming “a hotly contested field of strategic importance” for the country’s tech titans.

“For Alibaba, mini-programmes will be a crucial part of its ecosystem,” she said, adding that Alibaba’s reward scheme would draw more developers into its mini-programme platforms as the company plays catch-up with Tencent’s WeChat.

Liu Jiehao, a Guangzhou-based analyst at iiMedia Research, said as the app market is becoming saturated, the competition in mini-programmes enters its “Enclosure period”, or an era of consolidation. “[Alibaba] hopes to use both its technologies and money to quickly attract a large number of mini-programme developers. The main goal here is to enrich Alibaba’s product ecosystem.”

Write to Luna Lin at [email protected]

Editor: Nadine Freischlad