In 2017, Chinese tech giant Tencent changed the game in app development after introducing mini programs in WeChat. These are mini apps embedded in the WeChat ecosystem where no download is required. Just open the mini app, launch it, then you’re good to go!
This radical move from the company influenced changes in the app economy in China. Now, app developers are driven to adapt to these innovative changes and build mini programs for their apps.
If you’re an online entrepreneur, you can tap into the app economy of China and boost your success by developing mini apps, specifically, WeChat mini programs.
The best part about developing mini apps instead of native apps is that they only take about 20% of development efforts, but they can perform up to 80% of what native apps can do.
If you want to learn more about how you can create your own WeChat mini program, read this article until the end so you can learn how to develop your own app, even without knowledge or experience in coding!
What is a WeChat Mini Program
WeChat started off as a simple free messaging app that has now transformed into a massive ecosystem with over 1 billion users.
Within WeChat’s ecosystem, there are inside apps that users can launch to have access to hundreds of services including online shopping, gaming, and even online payments.
A WeChat mini program is a streamlined version of a native app available in China. Instead of having to download the apps themselves, the user can just access those apps through WeChat. These apps don’t take up a lot of phone space (as most WeChat mini programs are smaller than 10MB), and they’re more convenient since they can be accessed by a simple QR scan.
From a much bigger perspective, these mini programs are not only embedded in the WeChat ecosystem but are also embedded into the Chinese culture and lifestyle. For example, it’s very common for Chinese customers to scan QR codes to access services online, and WeChat mini programs are able to satisfy this practice.
Purpose of WeChat Mini Programs
WeChat Mini Programs are tailored to the needs of the Chinese market. For the millions of Chinese users that use WeChat daily, these mini programs are sources of entertainment, and they also provide essential services such as e-commerce and payment.
The purpose of each WeChat mini program depends on its type and the kind of consumers that use it.
To access WeChat mini program, all a user needs to do is to swipe down on WeChat. Very simple, right? And it’s such an effective interface that one of WeChat’s shop platforms, Youzan, reported that 27% of their traffic comes from this simple swipe-down action.
If you’re wondering just how many users does WeChat has, according to Walk the Chat, WeChat mini program has over 746 million active monthly users, where the average time a user spends on the site is 64 minutes.
Some of WeChat’s mini program benefits are listed below:
- Fast loading speed
Examples of WeChat Mini Programs
If you want to get your hands into WeChat app Development, you can take a look at some examples below, so you can get inspiration when developing your own WeChat mini program.
- WeChat Mini Program - Gaming
WeChat mini program has mini games that users can play, and use to compete with friends. Since they are already integrated into the WeChat ecosystem, these games typically load fast and can be played without much lag.
These mini games also foster social interaction among players. The WeChat mini program has a scoreboard where every time the highest score gets beaten, players of that game receive a notification. Mini games are also a great way to increase time spent on the WeChat app.
Image taken from QP Software
Jump Jump is one of the most popular mini games in the WeChat mini program. It was one of the 15 pilot games that Tencent developed and released on WeChat. In just 3 days, Jump Jump was able to garner a staggering 400 million users.
Jump Jump is a fairly simple game but its interactivity makes it stand out. All the players have to do is tap onto the screen and try not to fall. Friends can also share their scores among friends and invite them for a battle.
- WeChat Mini Program - Lifestyle and Ecommerce
18% of WeChat mini programs are ecommerce apps. WeChat’s smooth integration with some of China’s largest ecommerce companies is a great leap towards commercializing the WeChat ecosystem, which is extremely beneficial for online entrepreneurs and business.
Image taken from QP Software
Ecommerce giants like Alibaba, Taobao, and JD, have mini versions of the app that can be accessed through the WeChat mini program. What makes this ecommerce experience even better, is that these apps are integrated with WeChat pay. This makes online payments more convenient, faster, and much reliable for thousands of online buyers.
Buyers don’t even have to close WeChat or open up a different platform to send payments anymore, WeChat does it all for them.
- WeChat Mini Program - Transportation
For public transportation, Tencent started a project called “Project Offline: Public Transit in 2017”. According to Dragon Social, 134 cities in China have integrated Smart Transportation into WeChat Mini Program. These apps have been implemented in various public transportations including the Shanghai Public Transport, and Shenzhen Metro.
Over 250,000 daily commuters use WeChat mini program to pay for metro transportation services. For bus transportation services, WeChat’s DAU reached over 200 million users in 2018.
Under WeChat Pay, transportation services are the third-largest category after retail and catering. Millions of users use WeChat mini program to travel from one place to another without much effort.
- WeChat Mini Program - Utility
WeChat mini program gives users access to different services including healthcare, education, and utilities. Through this, users can easily send payments for utility bills. These services are available in 13 cities in China.
The WeChat mini program for utilities was only introduced in 2019 but has already gained over 147 million users since then. The app made it much convenient for users to make payments without leaving their homes.
- WeChat Mini Program - News
With the introduction of the WeChat mini program into the Chinese market, the industry of content and information distribution was also changed.
WeChat transformed the way media is shared and consumed by the people. From traditional news outlets like newspapers and broadcasts, WeChat was able to democratize and personalize access to information.
As an example, one of WeChat's mini programs called "We Media", allows media providers to host on the platform and produce their own content. Media consumers can then access these contents on the same platform and share them in their social networks.
Some of China's largest news media companies like The People's Daily have developed their own mini app for WeChat mini program, and has had over 11 million subscribers on WeChat.
How to Make your own WeChat Mini Program
Now, if you're convinced with the benefits of having a WeChat mini program, then it's time for you to learn how to develop one.
Did you know that you can create your own WeChat mini program even with no code experience? Here in this short WeChat mini program tutorial, we'll introduce you to SXL.CN, a website that has features and tools to help you develop your own WeChat mini program.
WeChat mini programs are designed for the Chinese market, so most apps are in Chinese.
Upon visiting SXL. CN, the first thing you'll realize is that the website is written in the Chinese language. But don't worry, a simple google web translator can easily translate the page to English for you.
Image taken from Strikingly/SXL product
As you can see on the image above, you can create your account by adding your phone number. Make sure to add the correct number extension depending on your country.
After you've entered your phone number, all you have to do is wait for a text message that contains the verification code. Type the code into the next section and agree to terms and conditions of the website.
Finally, once you've created an account, you can now access SXL.CN's app development tools to build your very first WeChat mini program!
SXL.CN is a Strikingly product that provides users with the ability to produce WeChat mini programs even without in-depth knowledge of app development. SXL.CN promises to create a mini program for you in just 10 minutes.
Image taken from Strikingly/SXL product
No technical knowledge or design experience is required to use this website. All you need to do is have an idea, plan the development stage, discuss the objectives, choose the type of mini program you want and you’re good to go!
WeChat mini programs transformed the app economy in China. Many entrepreneurs and businesses are now taking advantage of this innovation to generate more revenue and increase user engagement. With the WeChat mini program, millions of user can have access to essential services from news to e-commerce.
So what are you waiting for? Create your SXL account today and develop your first WeChat mini program!