In China, middle-aged and elderly people are increasingly using WeChat mini-programs for entertainment purposes, including watching videos and reading news, and photography, according to the mini program data analysis platform Aladdin.

There are now more than 60 million WeChat users between the ages of 55 and 70 years old. According to local media, many of these users learn how to use online shopping platforms through mini programs that are shared by their friends.

Mini apps are like independent apps but can be launched directly from WeChat.

Of all the WeChat users over utilizing mini programs, 22% use them for watching videos, 20% for news content, and 17% for photography, according to Aladdin’s October WeChat Mini Program Report.

Aladdin notes that the ease of mini program app usage has been improved by WeChat’s recent restructuring of its “Mini Programs Nearby” feature. In it, users can now select from different categories of mini programs, including shopping, travel, beauty, and education to identify mini programs that can be used for services within a two-kilometer radius.

A study published by Tencent’s social science research affiliate Society & Technology (S-Tech), together with a research team at Shenzhen University found that elderly WeChat users are using features other than messaging. The study showed that around three quarters of elderly users read subscription articles, while 50% of respondents used WeChat Pay functions.

Video platform iQiyi has identified the greater use of technology among the elderly and released a short video app targeting that section of the market. The company launched its Jinshi app in September. The app focuses on topics including current events and politics, health, and the military. It also allows users to switch between audio and video streams and features horizontal videos.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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