Telegram, the popular messaging app with 800 million monthly active users worldwide, is taking steps towards adopting an ecosystem strategy similar to WeChat’s super app approach. This move involves decentralizing certain aspects of the ecosystem with the help of two key players: Telegram’s crypto partner TON Foundation and WeChat’s owner Tencent.
Telegram has been working on a platform that allows third-party developers to build mini apps to interact with users. These mini apps, which can be launched right inside Telegram, completely replace any website and offer infinitely flexible interfaces. To develop this super app platform, Telegram has partnered with a network of infrastructure partners from the tech world and the crypto space. One of these partners is The Open Network (TON) Foundation, which provides the blockchain groundwork for Telegram.
Recently, TON Foundation announced a partnership with Tencent Cloud, a subsidiary of Tencent, which has already supported TON validators and plans to expand its services for TON’s high compute intensity and network bandwidth needs. Tencent Cloud will offer benefits to projects built on TON, such as gaming solutions and cloud credits and product discounts through the Tencent Cloud Startup Program.
With slowing growth in China’s tech industry, Tencent has been focusing on expanding overseas. WeChat, Tencent’s flagship app, has pioneered the mini app model in China and powers millions of mini apps that serve various functions. By partnering with Tencent, Telegram’s mini app ecosystem has the potential to reach a broader spectrum of users globally.
The partnership between Telegram and Tencent is expected to benefit both parties. Developers from WeChat who are currently using Tencent’s cloud service may start building on TON due to the similarities between WeChat mini apps and Telegram mini apps. While WeChat’s developers have experience in building for China users, they will need to familiarize themselves with Telegram’s international community.
The partnership with Tencent also offers insights into enticing users to utilize a messenger app for various purposes. WeChat’s payment functionality played a crucial role in its early success, and Telegram has integrated with numerous payment solutions, including a self-custodial wallet developed by The Open Platform (TOP). The inclusion of a crypto wallet expands transaction opportunities in regions where centralized online payments are not available.
As Telegram and TON learn from WeChat’s playbook, it will be intriguing to see how the mini app platform with a decentralized twist unfolds. With its growing user base and partnerships like this, Telegram has the potential to create a thriving ecosystem that revolutionizes the way people interact with the app and opens up new possibilities for developers.