When Apple launched the App Store on July 10th, 2008, there were a mere 552 apps of which just 135 of which were free to download. 1 day after launch WeChat mini programs seem to have a similar number available with new ones continuing to pop up at a steady pace. Below is our list of the 10 ten mini programs we’ve found that can be useful and/or interesting for the international community living in China.
To search for these mini programs by name, go into the mini programs option and select the search icon in the top right.
Our Top 10
1. Hangzhou Plus
The world’s first full English language mini program is Hangzhou Plus designed to help make expats lives in Hangzhou a little easier. We’re sure Hangzhou based Jack Ma must be very happy.
Search for HZPlus in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
2. McDonald’s Discount Coupons
McDonalds and KFC have both released mini programs already. We prefer Maccy D’s. This is the kind of mini program that in the near future will be discoverable not through search but by scanning a QR code instore or on a McDonald‘s flyer.
Search for 麦当劳优惠券 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
3. Tencent Surveys
Easily create your own survey and post into a group with a preview of the results in the screenshot.
Search for 腾讯投票 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
The classic. Mini program works almost the same as the app.
Left: Mobike’s mini program Right: Mobike’s app
Search for 摩拜单车 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
5. Sleepy Sounds
Send yourself to sleep with a wide selection of sleepy soundtracks from the sounds of birds tweeting to cat’s purring.
Search for 小睡眠 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
6. Bus Time Checker
This highly practical mini program allows you to check the time of the next bus. We expect to see QR codes for mini programs like this popping up at bus stops all across China very shortly.
Search for 车来了精准的实时公交 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
7. China Air Quality PM2.5 Count
Very simple interface. Can check based on location but also manually select another Chinese city.
Search for 实时空气质量 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
8. Apartment Price Checker
Fancy finding out how much the apartment you’re in is worth? Use this mini program to check and compare the latest prices.
9. Tencent Video
Light version of the Tencent Video app. Fancy a bit of Sherlock Season 4?
Search for 腾讯视频 in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
10. Photo Filters
This Chinese version of Prisma doesn’t require any language skills to operate. Simply go in, add a picture from your camera roll and start selecting the filters. Save the picture to your phone once you’re happy with the results.
Search for 名画滤镜APP in mini programs (long press the name to copy and paste).
You’ve probably noticed that many of these mini programs are simply copies of apps already out there. There’s an obvious comparison to be drawn with the iOS App Store which when it first opened was filled with light versions of desktop applications.
The real value and purpose of mini programs lies in empowering O2O (online to offline) transactions and interactions (i.e. connecting WeChat and the real world in more powerful ways).
“ 用完即走 Use it and go ”
Let us know in the comments if you’ve discovered any interesting mini programs you think should be on this list.