Popular content aggregator Jinri Toutiao plans to roll out mini-programs, joining WeChat, Alipay, and Baidu in a race for user attention spans, reports local media.

The mini-programs are currently in a stage of internal testing and will be released soon if all goes as planned. According to a Toutiao representative, the company hopes to offer a richer experience for users with different needs by launching the new feature.

Enterprises reportedly have limited access to the mini-programs, which are currently only compatible with Android systems. Users will be able to enter the mini-program by searching for keywords and can share specific program pages to Weitoutiao, Toutiao’s microblogging platform. The new feature also supports Alipay.

By testing out mini-programs for its platform, Toutiao is following in the footsteps of Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu. The feature was first released on WeChat in early 2017, allowing users to access limited versions of various services and sites without downloading separate apps. It’s since been proven a savvy move for the social networking platform, reaching 200 million daily active users this year.

Alipay and Baidu both launched their own mini-programs in recent months, with plans to expand further in the field. Ant Financial began an initial trial run last September, followed by the establishment of an official mini-program business unit. Toutiao’s latest news is part of a larger trend of big-name online platforms seeking to keep users glued to their apps.

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Bailey Hu

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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