WeChat, developed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, recently announced the setup of its search application department, triggering speculation that the mobile messaging app may be raising the ante on its “mini-apps” (小程序 in Chinese), local media is reporting (in Chinese).

The new search application department, formed by existing WeChat employees, will focus on the messaging app’s search business, reading recommendation engine, AI technology research and applications, as well as data platform construction and application.

The new department will be headed by Zhou Hao, who reports directly to Zhang Xiaolong, Tencent senior vice president and the “Father of WeChat”.

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Sheila Yu

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at sheila@technode.com.