Apple launches online store on China’s giant WeChat messaging app
Apple on Tuesday launched an online store on Tencent’s WeChat messaging app in China, stepping up its expansion of retail channels there.
There are over 1.2 billion users on WeChat, China’s biggest messaging platform. This app goes beyond instant messaging and is often referred to as a “super app.” It offers mini programs, which are essentially apps within the app. In other words, users won’t need to download multiple apps, but can instead access all their needs from within WeChat.
The WeChat store on Apple’s website is like a mini program.
Tencent said in a statement users can purchase the full line of Apple products through the Mini Program. You can choose to pay for three-hour delivery if you order via WeChat, and shipping is free if you order via WeChat.
Customers will also be able to access some other Apple services, such as the trade-in program, according to Tencent.
In response to a request for comment from CNBC, Apple and Tencent did not immediately respond.
Over the past few years, Apple has increased its presence on China’s biggest internet platforms. Tmall is operated by Alibaba, and Apple has an official store there. JD.com, China’s second-largest online retailer, is an official reseller of Apple products.
Despite a tough market overall, iPhone sales in China have remained very resilient. Counterpoint Research reports that smartphone sales fell 5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, the lowest first-quarter sales figure since 2014. The sales of Apple’s iPhones increased 6% yearover year, according to Counterpoint.
Apple is still trying to reach out to more customers. Messages, flights, and payments can all be done through WeChat in Chinese society.