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China tech

Chinese mini-apps hold big appeal for businesses hit by virus

Alibaba and Tencent tap corporate demand as economic slowdown weighs on consumers

Fun and games: one operator of claw-crane arcades in Beijing has enjoyed growth online as part of China's "mini-app" boom (Nikkei Montage/Source photo by Getty Images and AFP/Jiji)

HONG KONG -- The coronavirus outbreak has kept many Chinese at home, but that is not a problem for Mo Jiaxuan, who owns a string of game arcades. Every day, roughly 1,000 people flock to try their luck on Mo's claw crane machines -- and as infections spread the numbers grew.

That is because MOMO Fun Star, his arcade business, recently expanded into the digital realm with a so-called "mini-app" that works inside Alipay, the e-wallet developed by Alibaba Group Holding's fintech affiliate.

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