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WeChat Pay launches feature for brick-and-mortar merchants, takes on Meituan and Ele.me

Shangjia Xiaochengxu aims to help the retail sector to upgrade digitally and seek additional revenue growth.

Some of Tencent's social-networking offerings.

Chinese social giant Tencent (HKG: 0700) on Thursday said that its mobile payment unit WeChat Pay has launched a mini program called Shangjia Xiaochengxu to allow brick-and-mortar merchants to easily open online stores. The merchants can access the new feature via another mini program—Shoukuan Xiaozhangben—which is being used for years by shops to collect money from consumers.

After opening Shoukuan, users just need to add information about their shops to generate a virtual store in the form of a mini program. WeChat Pay has also embedded functions that allow merchants to promote their products via a feed called Dongtai and let consumers order via a channel called Diandian.

Shangjia Xiaochengxu aims to help the retail sector to upgrade digitally and seek additional revenue growth, Tencent said in the press release.

Tencent's Shangjiao Xiaochengxu
Sceenshots show a sea food shop and a flower shop opened on WeChat Pay Shangjia Xiaochengxu.

The new tool is only available to merchants running a physical store with a government-granted license. Tencent previously launched a mini program, called WeChat Minishop, where all businesses and individuals can open online stores, KrASIA reported last month.

While the Minishop is being pitched against Alibaba, Pinduoduo, Douyin, and Kuaishou, Shangjia Xiaochengshu competes with similar products from Meituan and Ele.me. Both have been courting offline merchants including restaurants and bookstores to set up online presences on their respective platforms since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China in January.

Tencent has been making various attempts to broaden its portfolio in e-commerce and local services. The company unveiled a social e-commerce mini program called Xiao’e Pinpin, featuring a group-buying function, in late April. It also doubled down on retailer Yipien Fresh, which runs nearly 900 grocery supermarkets in 17 cities, leading its USD 359 million Series C round.