WeChat Tests Mini-Program to Access Shops with Delivery Capabilities

Tencent-backed social app WeChat is testing a take-out mini-program in two major Chinese urban centers, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. According to Tencent, rather than seeking to provide delivery services like local food delivery giants Ele.me and Meituan, the mini-program is exploring opportunities with sellers who already have the ability to deliver orders.

Products included in the mini-program range from food, tea, and fresh groceries to daily necessities and more. Many shops fall under the category of food and beverages, including Juewei Food, HeyTea, Naixue, and KFC. There are currently few shops in the mini-program offering fresh groceries and daily necessities.

The program’s list of sellers is still expanding. Sellers need to have physical stores or storage spaces. Tencent will not take a commission from sellers during the test period.

The minimum order for delivery and delivery fees are on par with other Chinese take-out platforms. Businesses with distribution capabilities use their own delivery teams, and others use third-party delivery services such as SF Express.

Over the past three years, WeChat mini-programs have gradually improved and attracted an increasing number of restaurants to provide take-out services through the platform. Data disclosed by WeChat shows that nearly 60% of the top 100 restaurants in China have joined the platform. According to Tencent‘s financial report, in the third quarter of last year, the number of daily active accounts on WeChat mini-programs exceeded 600 million, a year-on-year increase of over 30%.

There have been years of fierce competition in the take-out industry dominated by Alibaba‘s Ele.me and Meituan. However, more players have squeezed into the field.

On August 19 last year, Ele.me and ByteDance’s short video app Douyin announced a partnership in which Ele.me provides Douyin’s 600 million daily active users online ordering and delivery services while watching short videos. On June 17 last year, Xin Lijun, CEO of JD.com‘s retail arm, said that the e-commerce giant had also considered exploring the take-out business.

SEE ALSO: JD.com to Research Potential Move Into Food Delivery Sector

According to iResearch Consulting Group, in 2020, the market cap of services for daily living in China was 19.5 trillion yuan ($2 trillion) and may grow to 35.3 trillion yuan ($5 trillion) by 2025. Short video platforms are expected to be the third highest business growth generating channel, after advertising and e-commerce.