WeChat launches a new mini program to coach mini apps developers

The new “Industry Assistant” is able to gauge a merchant’s effectiveness in its user retention and business marketing.

China’s top messaging app WeChat has released a mini program that allows businesses to self-assess and perfect their own mini apps, as it races to maintain its dominance in the rising technology.

“WeChat Industry Assistant,” as the new feature is called, is accessible from WeChat’s swipe-down menu, just like other mini programs. It serves as a toolbox for mini program developers who use these scaled-down apps to digitalize their businesses and gain more customers.

Introduced by WeChat in 2016, mini apps have become a fad among major Chinese smartphone makers, third-party developers, and merchants.

Mini programs refer to applications smaller than 10 megabytes that can run instantly on WeChat. They do not need to be downloaded, saving users of their phone storage, and run directly within the WeChat’s interface. Other companies like Alibaba have launched their own versions of mini-apps.

WeChat boasts 620 million monthly active users and 250 million daily active users (DAUs) of mini programs in June. Archrival Alipay has been speeding up to its own mini program ecosystem, which had 230 million DAUs in the same month, according to Chinese internet data provider Alading.

The new “Industry Assistant” has three tabs at the bottom of the screen: “operational status,” “industry news” and “ability tools.” Merchants in various industries can get tailored data and evaluation standards like their abilities of user acquisition, user activation, and monetization.

All the statistics will also translate into an overall ranking of “low,” “middle” or “high,” after being compared with their fellow competitors.

This “Industry Assistant” currently covers 17 industries in retail, brand management, restaurant, public transportation, and healthcare. WeChat, owned by entertainment and social media giant Tencent, says it will gradually include more sectors.