Really insightful article on the development of user interfaces, chat bots and conversational UIs given the background of WeChat's success in China (title threw me off first, but it's a good read).
Alhough some apps are indeed mini-desktop apps that make full use of the supercomputer I carry in my pocket, well over half fall into another category. These apps are just a vessel for a steady stream of news, notifications, messages, and other timely info ultimately residing in a backend service somewhere. They don’t really do much on their own.
It’s no stretch to see WeChat and its ilk not as SMS replacements, but as nascent visions of a mobile OS whose UI paradigm is, rather than rigidly app-centric, thread-centric (and not, strictly speaking, conversation-centric).
This article he links about differences between western and Chinese apps from 2014 is also really interesting: