Social media platform WeChat created more than 22 million job opportunities in 2018, 5.3 million of which drew the majority of income through the platform, according to a report published on Monday. Total job opportunities grew 10% compared with 2017, following steady average growth of more than 2 million positions per year since 2014. The report did not specify the proportion of jobs that were full-time, however, or average wages.

The paper was co-released by Tencent’s WeChat, official think tank China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, and their jointly established Digital China Research Center. Together they calculated that WeChat enabled “traditional” industries such as food and beverage, entertainment, and education to scale more efficiently, capturing more than RMB 4 billion in 2018. The app accounted for RMB 240 billion or 5% of total spending on “information consumption” during the same period.

Mini-programs, WeChat’s answer to the Apple App Store, helped drive growth. Launched in 2017, the fast-growing, flexible feature has helped lower the entry threshold for entrepreneurs across the board. Alone, mini-programs are estimated to have created 1.8 million direct and indirect employment opportunities in 2018, a 75% increase from the previous year. They also created some RMB 500 billion in business value in 2018.

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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.