The Italian Consulate in Shanghai wanted to improve communication both with their Italian countrymen as well as tourists, visitors and partners. Digitization of some internal processes such as passport application was also high on the agenda.
WeChat is a giant among APPs in China and is known as a super-app. This due to the fact that it allows the user to perform a plethora of tasks – chat with your friends, post to your timeline in a Facebook-type fashion, pay utility bills, top-up the phone, transfer money to your friends, book tickets, order a Didi 滴滴出行 (China’s Uber), order take-out, or simply pay in basically every shop in China, online as well as offline.
Since 2016 there is also the WeChat Mini Program. These are a type of mini-APP which can easily be searched for and reached from within the WeChat ecosystem. They are also closely tied with WeChat OA (Official Accounts) and work in unison. Some WeChat Mini Programs are small and simple web shops while others are advanced eCommerce platforms from large online shopping players like JD.com.
Mini Programs are often used due to their ability to use Geo-location and thus creating an O2O-, online-to-offline, experience. As for example with Tesla where users can find the closest charging stations in relation to their location, book a test drive or share their experiences as a Tesla owner.
The Italian Consulate in Shanghai also had a need for Geo-positioning. They wanted to show Italian companies and institutions on a map and also needed to digitize an old map showing Italian places, buildings and important events from a Shanghai of yore.
Therefore WeChat Mini Program was chosen as the optimal solution for their requirements. We designed and developed the entire application, which also included a custom back-end where the client could update all the information; there is a notification system for each of the steps between consulate and visitor for different type of application processes and much more.