What is a super app? Which companies are super app tycoons?

Tram Ho

In Asia, apps like WeChat, Alipay, Grab, Go-Jek, Paytm, Kakao and Line are becoming an integral part of many. Most start with basic features such as messaging, payment, calling … but gradually become more versatile.

Siêu ứng dụng là gì? Những công ty nào là ông trùm siêu ứng dụng? - Ảnh 1.

The “super application” model is not difficult to understand: it is a single port that allows people to perform various activities, save phone capacity, save time when not having to open many applications. However, it is not without drawbacks, especially in terms of privacy and competitiveness.

This trend is growing strongly in Asia and is spreading to Latin America. North American and European companies such as Facebook, Uber, Amazon are also aiming for super applications but not easy for them to become “Western WeChat”.

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Countless features in the WeChat app. Photo: Maketecheasier

Currently, the “king” of the super application is Tencent’s WeChat. The app is used by more than two-thirds of Chinese people, on average several hours a day. WeChat and its rival Alipay are frequently used to pay, pay bills without cash.

Texting, accessing social networks, reading newspapers, buying tickets, calling cars, playing games, financial services, food delivery, hotel reservations, airline tickets, medical appointments … all activities This is available on WeChat or Alipay. You can also write games and applications within WeChat and take advantage of its built-in infrastructure for messaging and payment features.

One of the biggest disadvantages of super applications is that it is too powerful, hindering the ability to introduce new services. Privacy is also a cause for concern because when users do everything in an application, it understands and collects a lot of information about them.

Siêu ứng dụng là gì? Những công ty nào là ông trùm siêu ứng dụng? - Ảnh 3.

Grab is Singapore’s super app. Photo: Maketecheasier

Other applications are a more lightweight version of WeChat. Some prominent names are Indonesia’s Go-Jek (more than 20 services), Singapore’s Grab (ride-hailing, mobile payment, food delivery …), India Paytm (mobile payment, service) finance, car rental, shopping …).

It is quite surprising that Europe, Australia, Africa, USA and Canada do not have a “super application” in the true sense. David Marcus, director of Facebook Messenger, once acknowledged WeChat as their inspiration. Uber also declared its intention to become “the foundation of everyday life”, starting by combining Uber and Uber Eats in one application, expanding ride-hailing options. They even have a delivery company called Uber Freight. Amazon wants to become a super app in India, provide electronic payment services, book flights, order cars, food delivery … or directly or through the company that it buys.

Super apps are synonymous with super handy, but putting them all together is not the best idea for the ecosystem in the long run. Competition drives innovation and prevents a company from having too much power. The most likely scenario is that we will have several different ecosystems with different super applications. Messenger and Uber may not become WeChat of the Americas, but will add more useful features soon.

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Source : ICT News