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With an upgraded search function, WeChat looks even more like an operating system. (Picture: WeChat)

Multi-purpose WeChat wants to be a better search engine

Tencent’s all-purpose app will allow searches for online stores, stocks and medical information to challenge Baidu

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Tencent says it's expanding WeChat’s search capabilities next year to allow users to find a slew of new content. This will include entertainment options like music, games and memes. They’ll also be able to search for online stores, medical information and stocks.

WeChat has become so dominant in people’s lives in China that some people often turn to it first to search for content instead of local search giant Baidu or Microsoft’s Bing. People can already use WeChat’s search function to find influencers’ accounts, public posts, news articles, encyclopedia entries, videos and Q&A content. Users can also search for mini programs, which are light apps that launch immediately within WeChat without having to be downloaded.

While Baidu is still the king of search in China, it’s been facing more contenders in recent years. TikTok maker ByteDance also introduced a search engine earlier this year. And WeChat has been working to expand search to make the app more central to people’s lives in China, where it already effectively functions as an operating system.

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