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Whats New in WeChat? May 2017 Edition

Mini program QR codes

One of the latest functions that WeChat has added are QR codes for mini programs. These codes, released on April 18th, differ from the traditional by resembling objects, making them more concise and recognisable to users.


  • Users with the updated version of WeChat (v 6.5.7) can access mini programs by long pressing a picture of this new code, or by scanning it.
  • The mini program QR codes are much more “follower friendly”, since many traditional QR codes for mini programs weren’t able to be identified by long pressing, making them difficult to promote on other platforms to some extent.
  • These codes use an exclusive, independent format and can only be created on WeChat. This guarantees control by WeChat and keeps them within WeChat’s ecosystem. Mini program QR codes can be posted on WeChat Moments pages or sent to WeChat friends and are helpful in promoting.


Exclusive QR codes are not new however. Other apps such as Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat have also integrated these into their user experience, and to great success in the case of the latter.



Open to third party operators

For a long time, only government bodies along with the media and corporates were able to register WeChat mini programs. Last month on April 17th however, WeChat opened up access of mini programs to third party operators who help brands that want to develop their own mini programs.


  • These operators can provide brands with coding services, account management and even mini program templates for brands to complete by themselves.
  • Both brands and web service providers can benefit from this change, with this function lowering the barrier of entry for mini programs and as a result, mini program development will no longer be an obstacle for a small-scale account.



Mini programs can have the same name as an official account

Before this change, the name of a mini program couldn’t be the same as the name of an official WeChat account. Recently however, WeChat has removed this restriction, allowing brands to create their mini-programs using the name of their account.


  • Account managers can edit the name of their existing mini program using the content management system.
  • With the restriction relaxed, brands are better equipped to drive traffic from the official accounts to their mini programs, especially for official accounts that have already accumulated a significantly sized subscriber base.



Being associated with different mini programs


Further on the topic of mini programs with official accounts, WeChat has expanded the limit of how many mini apps official accounts could be bound with. In the past, an official WeChat account could only be bound with five mini programs, but this has increased to 13.


  • However among the 13, an account can only bound with at most 10 mini programs from the same entity, and three others under different entities.
  • For example, if ChoZan has registered one official WeChat account and ten mini programs at the same time, its official account can be bound with all the ten mini programs as well as three others registered by others.
  • As for mini programs, one mini program has a limit of three official WeChat accounts bounded to it.


In this way, brands can not only bind their mini program and official account together to drive traffic in-house, but can also bind it with others that have much larger user base to gain external traffic.



Mini program cards and WeChat articles

On April 22, in order to help users better access services provided by the official account, WeChat released mini program cards.


  • These cards would be made up of a picture and a simple text, and could be added after a WeChat article to direct readers to a related mini program.
  • Users access the mini program by clicking on the card, driving traffic to the mini program, while also improving user experience.




If these new changes are anything to go by, it’ll be vital for brands to understand the most of WeChat and their mini programs and how they can use it for success. Without doubt, mini programs will be making a stronger impact on business and marketing in China. We will keep you updated as we learn more.


If you’re looking to learn more about WeChat and how your brand can use it for success within the Chinese market, we’ve compiled these 3 links to get you started!


WeChat! The Next Wave To Social And Financial Success?

23 Expert Tips that will take your WeChat Marketing to the next level!

WeChat Marketing Agency – Trusted By Top Australian Brands – WeChat Setup and Maintenance 



If you enjoyed reading this and would like to read more social media related content, feel free to take a look at our Social Media Case Study Library!