As one of the most powerful multi-purpose app in China, WeChat integrates messages, social media and online payment method. Increasingly, it's also a place where retailers, brands and ordinary people sell things online, either inside WeChat or by moving people seamlessly to outside shopping platforms. It shows that WeChat has large active users in the world, with over 1 billion monthly active users (902 million daily active users) by 2018.
Mini programs are light apps built on top of WeChat. They were originally called ‘App accounts’ but in the end. Apple did not allow WeChat to use the word ‘app’. So WeChat mini-programs are “sub-applications” within the WeChat ecosystem.
The concept is a simple but powerful one. Normal apps have a lot of problems. They need to be searched for on the app store, downloaded and installed. You might need to register an account to use the app; it will require to be updated regularly. If you want to buy something you’ll have to input your card information.
All of this is done away with when we use mini programs. One tap to open and you are there. One more tap to use your WeChat ID to login if the program requires. Use it and go. No install, no updates. They enable to provide advanced features to users such as e-commerce.