WeChat and Alipay have often been described as “super apps” because everything is integrated within one service. Instead of having one app for banking and another for ride-hailing, a lot of these are built directly into WeChat so that the app becomes a one-stop shop for its users.
Companies may choose to launch mini-programs — or apps within WeChat — instead of a standalone app. The program allows businesses to send promotional messages directly to the user via WeChat, as well as tap into the app’s user base of more than one billion.
Mini-programs have become more prominent in the app, as WeChat makes a bigger push toward becoming a one-stop shop. Tencent recently updated the app so that the mini-programs feature now has its own page.
In the above image, you can see Dianping, a Chinese app that lets you see ratings for local restaurants and services, ride-hailing firm DiDi, and food-delivery service Meituan. You can use all of these services within WeChat and make payments without ever leaving the app. In this way, WeChat becomes like an app store as it tries to keep users connected to its ecosystem.