In China, smartphone apps
have never felt more obsolete. WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, hosts an overwhelming number of services inside itself: food delivery, ride-hailing, live streaming, and more. Now, China’s leading mobile payment app, Alipay, is trying to kill off apps
Like WeChat’s own instant apps, which launched in January, Alipay’s don’t require users to download anything. Instead, people scan a QR code to access them.
– run by Alibaba spin-off Ant Financial – opened up its mini programs system to developers at the end of August.
For WeChat, mini programs are a way to rope in the plethora of offline services and payment scenarios still outside the ever-expanding WeChat-verse. Bus stops and shops, for instance, can roll out their own mini programs, which can then tie into customer loyalty programs and marketing campaigns in WeChat.
Alipay, which is locked in a fierce battle with WeChat
Pay, is now playing catch up with mini programs. According to research firm Analysys, Alipay
captured 53.7% of China’s mobile payment market in this year’s first quarter. Tencent’s equivalent was in second at 39.5%.
Like WeChat’s system, Alipay’s instant apps
will make it easier for more services to join the app’s ecosystem. Already, the app has services embedded inside its dashboard, such as car rentals. Mini programs could make it easier for more companies
and products to become part of Alipay
without bogging down the app with more icons and menus.
Though Alibaba’s mobile wallet app lacks the sticky social component of WeChat, it does offer a wider range of more developed financial products.
This is an excerpt from the article published on Tech In Asia. You can read the full article here