Updated 26 December 2017: This article has been updated to correct the statement that WeChat’s mini apps use H5. The mini apps use a special framework designed by Tencent based on JavaScript. 

Christmas is here! If you’re in China surrounded by excited WeChat friends sending out greetings chances are that you might already be sporting a Santa Clause hat on your WeChat profile photo. Behind the Santa hat craze on WeChat lies the success of WeChat mini apps.

The Santa hats were initially surrounded by April Fool-like tricks and rumors. Users would ask WeChat friends with Santa hats on their profile pictures how they got them and were fooled by their friends to write “Please give me a Christmas hat @WeChat official” on their WeChat Moments, a function similar to Facebook’s wall. Soon enough everyone’s Moments were filled with Santa hat requests but those who joined the bandwagon quickly realized that nothing actually happened.

Santa hat WeChat mini app (Image Credit: ChCh)

There are two ways that you can get your Santa hat. First, you can use the WeChat mini app Christmas Profile Photo (圣诞头像) to add Christmas hats to your WeChat profile picture. The second option is to use Tiantian P-Tu (天天P图), a picture editing mini app made by WeChat’s creator Tencent. To place a Santa hat on your picture use the “One key for a Christmas Hat” (一键圣诞帽) feature. Taintain P-Tu launched a promotional WeChat mini-app allowing people to add two kinds of Christmas hats. The mini app asks users to download the Tiantian P-Tu mobile app to try on other three kinds of hats.

The mini apps built with a special framework designed by Tencent that enable lightweight mobile-first webpages allowing users to design interactive campaigns. Judging from its name, the Christmas Profile Photo mini app was created especially for this occasion. Campaigns such as these can go viral as users share them on their WeChat Moments.

Born on January 9th, WeChat’s long-awaited mini apps initially received a rather lukewarm reception from users despite high expectations. But mini apps are gaining more traction. Companies and startups are making witty and easy to use mini apps such as these to spread their message and brand.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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