A number of Chinese device makers – including top-tier players Huawei and Xiaomi – joined a government-backed alliance to promote lightweight apps, Reuters said.
Other participants are ZTE, Gionee, Lenovo, Meizu, Nubia, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
The move is seen as a way of providing an alternative to Tencent’s popular WeChat messaging app, which now supports a raft of other services including payments. It also offers what were described as “mini-programmes”, which operate within the app and provide an alternative to full downloads from app stores.
The ten companies will work together to promote a standard format for HTML5-based apps, to enable a single codebase to target hardware from all vendors involved. This is designed to be more efficient for developers and more convenient for users, which number nearly 1 billion across devices from the vendors.
Apps will be promoted through artificial intelligence-enhanced recommendations, Reuters reported.
Due to limitations placed on Google Play, China’s app store market is already more fragmented with many vendors offering their own catalogues. Offering a streamlined process for delivering lightweight apps will help address this.
But Tencent already holds a strong position with WeChat, including its supporting content and app ecosystem, which will not be easy to challenge.