“A recent update of the WeChat app from Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent could have ‘serious ramifications’ for Apple, according to one analyst,” Eustance Huang reports for CNBC. “The WeChat update, which came out this week, involves a redesign in the way mini-programs — apps within the app — are presented. With that change, users now ‘essentially have a second home screen’ on their phones, said Matthew Brennan, co-founder and managing director at consultancy China Channel.”
“‘With WeChat moving towards solidifying the mini-programs position, there could be serious ramifications for Apple’s service business, which it has been focusing on to counter plateauing hardware sales,’ TuanAnh Nguyen, an analyst at technology research firm Canalys, said in an email to CNBC,” Huang reports. “Given their ubiquity across both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems, ‘superapps’ such as WeChat have ‘made the Apple ecosystem lock-in much weaker’ in China in comparison to other parts of the world, resulting in an erosion of the competitive advantage of the Cupertino-based tech giant’s hardware, he said.”
BIG new #WeChat update. Mini program drop-down menu now full screen with search-bar. This has been the vision all along, took them 3 years to get to there: a new home screen for your phone with mini-apps for everything. pic.twitter.com/MDDE5yGvMh
— Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) January 22, 2019
“‘WeChat is your Facebook, your credit card, your Uber, your Amazon altogether,’ said Mengmeng Zhang, a Beijing-based analyst at Counterpoint Research. ‘Some even say China’s operating system is WeChat, not (Google’s) Android or (Apple’s) iOS,'” Huang reports. “‘In the near term, high-value segments of contents such as mobile gaming will still stay on the main platforms instead of moving to WeChat’s mini-programs,’ said Canalys’ Nguyen. Echoing that view, Brennan said the mini-programs on WeChat are ‘not designed to be very big’ and are unlikely to compete against the games that feature on Apple’s App Store.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The “super app” is an interesting conundrum for Apple, but one that is unlikely to spread beyond China due to cultural differences, privacy concerns, acceptance of government oversight, antitrust regulation, differences in how the mobile app markets began, ingrained behavior, and more.
Apple and Tencent reach deal to let WeChat users tip each other – January 16, 2018
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus was the 2nd-best selling phone in China last year; Apple was only foreign brand in the top ten – January 15, 2018
Apple approves Tencent’s WeChat Pay for App Store purchases in China – August 31, 2017
Apple goes to war with Tencent’s WeChat – May 18, 2017
Courting controversy, Apple tells several Chinese social-networking apps to disable their ‘tip’ functions – May 18, 2017