A version of this article first appeared on Azoya’s WeChat blog. Azoya helps global brands and retailers access the China e-commerce market through WeChat and other channels.

The biggest brands in China are trying to reduce reliance on shopping mega-platforms like JD and Tmall, channeling consumers to branded mini-programs on the all-in-one messaging app Wechat. According to data provider ALDZS, 230 million daily active users access one of Wechat’s 2.3 million mini-programs every day. E-commerce comprises the largest category—approximately 18% of the mini-programs on the market are dedicated to e-commerce.

For most brands, mini-programs are supplements, not substitutes, to large shopping platforms. Some use them as a secondary sales channel, listing only hot items on it because they sell quickly through group buying or flash sales promotions. Others use them more as a branding tool. In this article, we’ll explain why mini-programs are becoming a key tool in a China brand strategy. In a follow-up, we’ll offer how-to tips based on our research into mini-program e-commerce.

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Ker Zheng

Ker Zheng is a marketing specialist at Azoya, a Shenzhen-based cross-border e-commerce enabler.