The latest version of China’s largest news aggregation app, Toutiao–which is part of the stable of apps under ByteDance– has been updated to promote mini apps and boost small games.
The update brings three significant changes. First, the user profile tab has been modified into two sections: a ‘frequently used’ part showing standard settings and functionalities, and a new ‘discovery’ section featuring mini-apps.
Second, the ‘Small games’ category is now also available as a content category in the horizontal menu on the main section of the app. All of these games are mini-apps.
Finally, Toutiao has introduced ‘recommended services’ in its main content feed, which are ads-alike notifications that prompt users to third-party mini-apps, like car rental services, and others.
The recent update seeks to promote the discovery and usage of Toutiao mini apps while stimulating the growth of mini app games. The changes are also expected to further incentivize third-party businesses to build and advertise their apps on Toutiao.
Mini apps (or mini programs as they are also known) are the next battleground for China’s top consumer tech platforms.
WeChat, which pioneered the concept in 2017, had more than 680 million monthly mini program users in April, while Alipay counted 400 million such users at the time, mobile internet research firm QuestMobile found.
ByteDance launched mini-program features in Toutiao and Douyin, respectively, in September and October 2018, and has been steadily adjusting Toutiao’s interface to improve accessibility to its in-app programs. The news aggregation platform has more than 200 million monthly active users in China, according to February statistics from research firm Trustdata.