Chinese third-party payment processor Alipay has announced that its in-app applet function has officially entered the beta stage, aimed primarily at enterprise-level developers, wherein users can scan an offline QR code to begin using applets. However, after feedback from netizens, may similarities were discovered between the applet initialization demos of Alipay and rival Tencent's (0700.HK) WeChat SNS app, with Alipay going so far as to directly copy WeChat's code.
In response to criticisms on this point, Alipay issued an apology via its official account on online and mobile Q&A community Zhihu.com, admitting responsibility for copying WeChat code and using it in the demo section of the applet, and stating that the team responsible had immediately modified the code for that section.
Alipay's applet system can take commonly used apps and feature them in applet form (i.e. stripped down to their most basic functions) within a channel on the Alipay home page for quick access. At present, there are applets that cover air transportation, commercial and life services, department stores, virtual network services, professional services, and professional sales. Once an applet QR code has been generated, it can be promoted offline by developers. Theses QR codes also support offline scanning and will appear in search queries directed through the Alipay app.
Editor's Note: For more information on this topic, please see "Alipay In-app 'Applets' Function Under Development," MD 4/13/17 issue.