Chinese online retailer JD introduced its mini program open platform on Wednesday, joining a list of Chinese tech giants that leverage the technology.

Why it matters: JD’s adoption of mini program is relatively late in the game. The lightweight applications, which offers a diverse range of functions without leaving the main app, are increasingly a key, must-have feature for mainstream apps.

  • JD claims more than 270,000 third-party merchants on its platform.

Read more: WeChat mini programs: the future is e-commerce

Details: JD’s mini program will be open to brands and merchants on JD’s platforms as well as external partners from various industries, including home appliances, baby and maternal care, cars, sport, education, and hospitality.

  • The mini programs can be adapted for the WeChat platform thanks to the company’s strategic partnership with Tencent.
  • The mini programs are accessible through various apps in the company’s ecosystem such as its main app and JD Finance. It will also be introduced to 7FRESH and JD Health.
  • The newly-launched feature is still under development. A test shows that it’s placed in an inconspicuous place now instead of a more prominent access point along the lines of WeChat.
  • A group of services, including Tencent-backed Yonghui Superstores and JD Electric Appliances and electronics rental service Jingxiaozu, have launched their mini programs.
  • More brands, including China Telecom, Burger King and Mehood Hotel, ehi Car Services, will join in the coming months.
  • The company is recruiting more merchants, according to a JD spokesperson.

Context: First pioneered by WeChat in 2017, mini-programs have been adopted by leading Chinese super apps, including Tencent’s QQ, Baidu, Meituan, Alibaba’s Alipay, and Taobao, as well as Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao and Douyin.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.