Tencent-backed WeChat has reportedly begun internally testing a takeout mini-program service in China, starting with Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Rather than seeking to provide delivery services like food giants Ele.me and Meituan, however, this mini-program was designed to work with sellers who already have the ability to deliver orders. According to Tencent, the mini-program allows users to order food and groceries from nearby stores and restaurants including KFC, HeyTea, Naixue and Juewei Food.
“WeChat is not going to end up doing food delivery,” a spokesperson from Tencent told local news. “It’s just an internal test of an interface capability so that merchants who already have the ability to provide food delivery services can access it, not doing it themselves.”
The move comes less than one month after Douyin began testing its very own in-app supermarket business, which was carried out in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. If launched nationwide, WeChat’s new program will not only directly compete with China’s food app giants such as Ele.me and Meituan, but also go head to head with Douyin’s up-and-coming takeout app creation.
With an estimated 1.3 billion active users a month, WeChat intends to capture shares in China’s massive food delivery market. According to research company IMarc Group, China’s online food delivery market reached 66.4 billion USD in 2022 and will generate 129.6 billion USD by 2028.