Tencent is letting retailers build virtual stores on its wildly popular WeChat platform by themselves for the first time, presenting a major challenge to Chinese ecommerce giants.
The Chinese social media and gaming giant already enables ecommerce on its WeChat platform, the Chinese “super app” which is used by over 1 billion people.
However, until now retailers have had to rely on expensive third-party developers to build shops within WeChat.
Its new range of tools allows merchants to build their own stores for the first time through WeChat Minishop.
According to Tencent merchants will not face any opening or service charges, unlike key rivals in the sector Alibaba and JD.com.
The platform will support live streaming, which is becoming a key part of ecommerce in China, and will offer order management, transaction and logistics services for merchants.