On August 2nd, our Joint Venture partner Sunway participated in the first overseas WeChat Developer Challenge in Singapore. They won the third prize with their innovative but simple Mini Program for Grab, which enables Chinese travellers to effortlessly book a taxi abroad.
With the growth in China’s outbound travel market and the increasing use of WeChat Pay and Mini Programs by Chinese travellers, WeChat decided to launch the first overseas WeChat Developer Challenge.
Numbers don't lie. Data shows that in 2018 more than 149 million Chinese inhabitants travelled around the world, representing an increase of 14,7% over the same period for the previous year. Next to that, the number of Mini Programs serving Chinese travellers overseas increased by 500% and the number of overseas visits to Mini Programs increased by 200%. A natural consequence: overseas merchants and destinations are demanding greater capabilities from the WeChat ecosystem, particularly Mini Programs. Reason enough to organize the WeChat Developer Challenge overseas, with the goal to accelerate the rollout of the WeChat ecosystem in markets all over the world and leverage the potential of both Chinese and overseas service providers.
Sunway was one of the thirty outstanding teams, selected from among nearly 300 service providers, who travelled to Singapore to showcase their newly developed Mini Program. Different Mini Programs were built for six Southeast Asian leading companies - Grab, Singapore Airlines, Resorts World Genting, Resort World Sentosa, L'Oréal Group and Singapore Exhibition Organizers & Supplier Associations - who were invited to come up with challenges for the competition.
Deciding for which company Sunway would develop a Mini Program was easy. Zhang Han (WeGoEU Project Lead): "We travel abroad a lot to get to know the parties we build Mini Programs for. Therefore, we as a team already had plenty ideas on how to make Grab even more convenient for Chinese travellers to get around!" Keeping it very user-friendly was their key to success. Wang Zhen (developer): "Grab already offers so many complete services, you don't want to add a full range of new Chinese services. We want to keep things relevant and clear."
The result is a Mini Program in which Chinese travellers can easily order a Chinese speaking taxi driver or use the online translation tool when they choose a local taxi driver. The team complemented the Mini Program with two surprisingly simple yet relevant functionalities. An extended messaging tool enables the traveller to adjust the route or change the final destination during their trip. But more life-changing is the AI-technology based functionality to recognize addresses from pictures, which takes away the hassle of typing in a foreign language address. These additions truly enhanced the user experience for the Chinese tourists traveling.
The judges decided that Sunway developed the Mini Program with the most value added for the Grab app, allowing them to present their solution in the grand finale.
Two service providers from Singapore, Mad About Design and Aiken Digital, came in as first and second, but we are overly proud of our Joint Venture Partner for coming in third! As an official partner of Tencent for the WeChat Go products all around the world, Sunway is our cornerstone when it comes to our connection with WeChat, Chinese cultural knowledge, innovative technologies and the latest trends. With Sunway we are able to traverse geographical and cultural barriers. The Dutch team frequently travels to China to get inspired and stay up to date with the latest developments. The Chinese team, in return, also travels to Europe, to get more acquainted with our customers, culture and business mentality.
That's how we bring worlds together.