WeChat, the largest mobile social media network in China, aims to take a big slice from US tech giant markets by releasing a feature alternative to the popular app stores run by Apple or Google. The new function is aimed at some 768 million users.

By announcing the launch of the “Xiaochengxu” function which translates to “mini programs,” WeChat aims to raise its profile and divert users from the idea of Apple’s App Store, Reuters reports.

Billions of dollars are up for grabs from the most common app stores run by Google and Apple, making them a key target for China. Apps are heavily relied upon by internet users across the world, for everything from checking bank statements to grocery shopping.

Tencent Holdings Ltd, parent company of WeChat, told Reuters that the latest function “allows users to access merchants’ services without having to download their apps.”

Previously, the services would have to be downloaded through Apple’s app store or other local companies including 360, as for Android apps, Tencent already had its own platform.

WeChat already includes Facebook- and Instagram-like functions, and allows users to send free video messages… see more

source: RT