Meituan rolls out its own platform for mini programs

The move follows developments that were shaped by Tencent, Alipay, Baidu, and ByteDance.

Photo: Stock.tuchong.com

Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping has integrated mini programs on its Meituan app36Kr reported on Tuesday.

The move mimics what major tech companies like Tencent, Alipay, Baidu and ByteDance have implemented for their platforms.

Meituan’s app has more than 400 million annual paying users and 5.8 million merchants. Its integration of mini programs is still in a very early stage of development, and a limited number are currently hosted on the app.

One example is Moji Tianqi, a weather forecast app. Its developer confirmed with 36Kr that its mini program is now on Meituan, though the company did not release any more details about the arrangement.

The chief developer of Meituan’s mini program platform told 36Kr that it is not the right time to discuss the product openly.

The Meituan app and the Dianping app both have their own mini programs embedded on Tencent’s WeChat to leverage the its ubiquity in China. Meituan’s move to host its own mini programs may be a move to fend off domestic super apps from occupying the bulk of users’ smartphone activity.

By early July, Baidu was already hosting more than 250 million mini programs forged by 150,000 developers. Baidu has teamed up with Youzan, a Software-as-a-Service vendor that helps companies set up and maintain their online sales portals, hoping its users will search for consumer products and buy them while using Baidu’s app rather than logging on to other platforms for these transactions.

Baidu’s search and indexing capabilities, as well as its recent progress with consumer engagement, pose a direct threat to Meituan, which has ambitions to become the Amazon of China’s service industry.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.