(Yicai Global) Feb. 16 -- Tencent Holdings' social media platform WeChat is likely to tap into food delivery next, following in the footsteps of e-commerce giant JD.Com and the Chinese version of TikTok, according to a media report.
Instant messaging application WeChat has started testing takeout services in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, online news outlet The Paper reported today.
Competition in China's on-demand service market is intensifying with more internet behemoths. The size of China’s local lifestyle services market totaled CNY19.5 trillion (USD2.8 trillion) in 2020, and it might increase to about CNY35.3 trillion by 2025, according to iResearch.
The Shenzhen-based tech giant is not directly employing takeout drivers but allows merchants who offer delivery to link up with clients via a mini-program, The Paper report said, citing an executive. This should help customers discover nearby services, the executive added.
WeChat does not intend to establish its own delivery system but wants to obtain profits from local business formats by enhancing its mini-programs, The Paper wrote, citing Pan Helin, co-chair of a research center at the Zhejiang University International Business School.
Mini-programs on the WhatsApp-like platform are booming. The number of daily active users of applets exceeded 600 million as of Sept. 30, 2022, up by over 30 percent from a year ago, according to Tencent's earnings report. Meanwhile, WeChat's monthly active user count rose by nearly 4 percent to 1.3 billion.
Earlier this month, ByteDance's short-video platform Douyin denied a rumor of debuting food delivery nationwide but admitted that it is piloting group-buying delivery in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. Based on the results, such a service might be launched on a bigger scale, it added.
On June 17, JD Retail’s chief executive Xin Lijun said that JD.Com was thinking about tapping into the food delivery business. "The timing of starting to do so depends on our capabilities and when corresponding talents can be recruited."
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi