WeChat, an indispensable app for Chinese people’s day-to-day lives, is testing a mini program facilitating online product sales by enterprises and self-employed business owners, in a clear sign of wider e-commerce ambitions for parent Tencent.
The mini program, named WeChat Minishop, will provide users with one-stop, easy-to-use services including product display, order and logistics management, payments, customer services, marketing and livestreaming, Tencent said in a statement Tuesday. It said the program would enable sellers to do e-commerce without a technical team.
Companies and self-employed businessmen can now apply to open a store on WeChat Minishop by submitting information including: corporate name, WeChat account number and products they want to sell, Tencent said, adding that the service will be available to ordinary individuals.
During the trial, each enterprise is allowed to open no more than 50 shops, while a self-employed business owner is allowed to run five at the most. Given product categories include home appliances, consumer electronics, pet care and apparel, among others.
The move marks another big step for Tencent to tap into the competitive e-commerce market already dominated by Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo. As Tencent’s most popular social media app with some 1.2 billion monthly active users, WeChat has been exploring ways to expand its merchants’ exposure to its huge user base. Earlier this month, WeChat announced a test allowing mini program content to be shared on “Moments”, a fundamental feature where WeChat users can post text, photo and video-based updates, a move that excites sellers who want their products to be seen by more WeChat users.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)