Alipay now counts more than 160,000 mini-apps, as the race between platforms intensifies

But it still trails behind the top dog.

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Alipay now counts more than 160,000 mini-apps, as the race between platforms intensifies

Alipay shared select statistics around its mini-program ecosystem at a roadshow in Beijing this week, 36Kr reports.

The number of mini-programs on the platform now exceeds 160,000, up from 120,000 in January. The company also said over 640 million cumulative users have used its mini-programs, and reiterated a stat first shared in January that daily users are above 230 million.

This announcement comes roughly one week after Alibaba launched an RMB 2 billion reward scheme to encourage developers to build mini-programs on Alipay, Taobao, communications and collaboration utility Dingtalk, as well as web and navigator app AutoNavi.

Last month, Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa partnered with Alipay to develop a mini-program to let Chinese visitors make direct purchases, book dining reservations, and access discounts directly in the app. Other examples of Alipay’s mini-programs cover on-demand services such as housekeeping and cleaninghome repair, installation, and maintenance; and even allow users to lease office equipment and other electronics.

Mini-programs are the next competitive arena for China’s tech giants.

Earlier this month, Baidu revealed it has more than 150 million mini-program users, after launching the portal in September 2018.

ByteDance launched mini-program features in Jinri Toutiao and Douyin in September and October last year, respectively, and recently tweaked Jinri Toutia’s interface design to improve accessibility to these programs.

Tencent, the pioneer in the space, leads the race by far. It claimed to have one million mini-programs in November, which was about half the size of Apple’s App Store at the time, and more than 200 million daily mini-program users in August 2018. The company also revealed in its most recent quarterly earnings that daily usage of the feature had grown 54% year-on-year. To provide a rough yardstick for this stat, WeChat’s monthly mini-program users numbered above 170 million in January 2018.