WeChat rolls out ‘mini programs,’ plus McDonald’s sells its China business and more

Business & Technology

Top business and technology news for January 9, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup, "Trump’s son-in-law has been courting ‘shadowy’ Chinese investor."

Credit: 28006396 - unidentified passengers use their mobile phones in a subway train mobile phones and tablets are used for people to entertain and view information when they take public transportation

  • WeChat rolls out ‘mini programs’ in a bid to kill off apps / Tech in Asia
    With more than 840 million active users, China’s top messaging and social media app WeChat launched “mini programs” on Monday. Tencent, the company that operates WeChat, “chose to use “mini programs” because Apple would not permit the use of the word “app.” The programs include a collection of cloud-based apps that users can access without downloading new software, including many popular services such as Didi, the ride-sharing service similar to Uber. The programs “pose a challenge to Apple’s App Store and to the array of Android app stores popular in China,” and “could also pull people away from Baidu and other search engines,” according to Tech in Asia.
  • McDonald’s sells control of China business to Citic, Carlyle / Bloomberg
    McDonald’s agreed to sell 80 percent of the stake in its China and Hong Kong operations to Chinese state-backed enterprise Citic and U.S. private-equity firm Carlyle Group for about $1.7 billion, according to a statement Monday. “Citic and Carlyle’s resources will allow McDonald’s to expand rapidly and refurbish old restaurants, which is expensive to do…Given that McDonald’s lags behind KFC in terms of store count in China, we can expect them to expand aggressively and invest heavily,” according to Ben Cavender, a Shanghai-based analyst at China Market Research Group.