Apple, WeChat Tussle Over How to Divvy Up Mini Program Revenue – Caixin Global
What happened: Powerhouse messaging platform WeChat has been trying to downplay rapid growth in the number of mini-programs—stripped-down ‘apps’ that run within WeChat—because of an impasse with Apple over a revenue split dating back to May. Apple was reportedly demanding 30% of in-app purchase revenue, and it seems the spat is unlikely to resolve anytime soon, Caixin said Wednesday citing unnamed sources. According to WeChat open platform executive, Du Jiahui, the argument is over the nature of mini-programs, which numbered 1 million as of July. A Caixin source said that widespread adoption of mini-programs since launching in 2017 took Apple by surprise.
Why it’s important: Tencent’s WeChat has previously battled with Apple over another form of in-app revenue: tips for content producers in WeChat’s public account media ecosystem. In June, Apple finally ruled that iPhone users could begin tipping again, as long as all of the proceeds went directly to individual account operators. The dispute over mini-programs may be harder to resolve, however. For one, the WeChat ecosystem is growing fast and lightweight mini-programs lower the barrier for entry for developers compared to the App Store. Many popular apps in China have also launched smaller versions within WeChat. As the potential pool of revenue grows, Apple may find it increasingly hard to let go.