China’s biggest messaging app is on a collision course with Apple

Thursday 12 January 2017 6 months ago 44   Beijing   Print

File photo.

Report  Web desk : Apple App Store is a US$28 billion business of which Apple itself pocketed a tidy US$8.4 billion in 2016. With 2.2 million apps, it’s an empire that Tim Cook’s company protects with all its firepower. But it’s now under threat more than ever. The latest and boldest challenge comes from China. WeChat, the nation’s top messaging app with over 840 million active users, this week rolled out a system that allows people on its social network to access apps that don’t need to be downloaded or installed. These instant apps, produced by an array of small startups and major companies including McDonalds and Apple-backed Didi Chuxing, bypass Apple App Store entirely. Accessible only within WeChat, they look and feel like apps, but they can be discarded as easily and quickly as a chat. If you want, you can keep the service within WeChat and even log in to it. There are no app updates, no icons clogging your homescreen. This could be the future of apps. And that’s not something Tim Cook wants to hear.