WeChat today added a new WiFi connection plugin for its public accounts. The new feature offers Wi-Fi solution plans to bricks-and-mortar stores, connecting Wi-Fi service providers, offline merchants and customers.
According to Tencent, this function will be applicable to different scenarios in shopping centers, hotels, hospitals and restaurants.
WeChat users will be able to enjoy free WiFi connection over WeChat public accounts when they enter the corresponding bricks-and-mortar stores.
While users are surfing on the internet, the WiFi connection tab will be displayed at the homepage of WeChat, enabling users to browse the details of connected public accounts in one click. In addition, WeChat will offer merchants various data in fields such as like daily visitors, or sent alerts to customers when they are approaching the stores. These data will enable retailers to derive business intelligence from real-time and historical WiFi analytics and convert customers into promoters via the integration of social channels.
WiFi service providers and third-party developers will also gain access to more data from public accounts, helping them to manage user accounts, and so on.
Tencent reportedly invested in WiWide, a leading domestic business WiFi business which received funding from Xiaomi last year. Tencent have poured over RMB100 million (around US$16 million) in this financing round together with Dianping, the review and rating service in which Tencent holds a stake, the report added.
Tencent isn’t the first internet giant that hopes to have access to all consumers through WiFi hotspot software. Alibaba, Meituan, Xiaomi have all launched their public WiFi solutions to tap the burgeoning sector.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)