Following an App Store rules dispute with Apple last year, China’s largest social media platform WeChat pulled its “tipping” feature from the iOS version of its app, which allowed sending of cash to content creators. According to Reuters however, the Tencent Holdings-owned social media company is planning to bring the feature back following a new agreement with Apple.
WeChat has reached an understanding with Apple regarding this “feature with Chinese characteristics”, Allen Zhang, the creator and president of WeChat, said at the annual WeChat developers conference in Guangzhou on Monday.
The new tipping button would be tweaked so that payments go to individual authors, instead of the WeChat public account holders, Zhang added, without giving any further details on when exactly the feature would be reintroduced on iOS.
With nearly 1 billion users, WeChat is the leading app in China that integrates messaging, payment, gaming and content publishing. The launch of “mini-programmes” in WeChat, which look and operate much like native iOS and Android apps, was seen by many as a threat to Apple’s and Google’s duopoly over the app-store ecosystem, but Tencent has repeatedly said it was not seeking to compete against them.
Currently, there are over 580,000 mini-programmes on WeChat with 170 million daily active users. The company has also recently announced a partnership with French video game developer Ubisoft, whose mobile game publisher Ketchapp will start launching WeChat-based games.