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Tencent claims that with Minishop merchants would not be charged for opening their virtual stores. And there are no service charges either.
Potentially to compete with e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HKG: 9988) and JD.com Inc (HKG: 9618), Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG: 0700) launched a tool called Minishop, which enables merchants to build a virtual store on social media Wechat.
With the Mininshop launch, merchants and other businesses are enabled to sign up for a test of the product. Launching Minishop on Wechat could be said to be a strategic move as the messaging app remains the most popular in China. Reportedly, the app is essential to life in the country.
Minishop’s selling point lies in the fact that it enables vendors to create mini e-commerce programs inside WeChat. Therefore vendors don’t have to wait for expensive developers. The program is not a centralized one like JD.com or Alibaba’s Taobao. However, it helps Tencent attract smaller businesses from them.
Tencent claims that with Minishop merchants who subscribe to the platform would not be charged for opening their virtual stores, likewise other services. This is to support other smaller businesses as well, as Alibaba’s platform charges various fees for merchants. Minishop also enables live streaming, a growing trend among Chinese e-shops. Both Alibaba and JD.co platforms support such features.
The in-Wechat store also helps merchant order management services, transaction logistics, and after-sales support.
Tencent Believes that Minishop Can Attract Users
Experts analyzed Minishop’s prospect and explained that it’s most advantage lies in the large user base and access to data.
The WeChat feature for making payments on other websites alongside “Moments” that allows users to post pictures, videos, and link to other websites can be viewed as other advantages for Minishop.
Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC, an e-commerce tech, and marketing firm said:
“Tencent broadly sits on quite a bit of both online and offline consumer data. For instance, the platform would be able to recommend e-commerce products similar to what they see in offline purchases that consumers make via WeChat Pay.”
It is also said that the new tool will be of great use for Tencent as well. The company could better understand the interests of consumers and provide personalized recommendations on products.
As for Tencent stock, it’s worth mentioning that the announcement of Minishop hasn’t influenced the stock price positively. Now the price is 5.52% down, at 513.00 HKD.