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Current Affairs

Super apps

Date: 26 August 2020 Tags: IT, Mobile & Computers

Issue

Conglomerate Tata Group is planning to launch an all-in-one super app by the end of this year or early next year.

 

Background

The digital platform is expected to bring together all the consumer-facing businesses of the group and is likely to be developed by the newly formed entity Tata Digital.

 

Details

  • A super app is a platform developed by a company offering various services under one umbrella. For example, China’s WeChat, which started out as a messaging app, expanded into payments, cabs, shopping, food ordering, cab services to become a super app.

  • A physical world comparison of a super app would be a mall, which allows retail space to various brands and shops across businesses and verticals.

  • The concept first emerged in China and Southeast Asia where internet companies like WeChat, GoJek, Grab leveraged the opportunity of customer traffic on their platforms that originally came for social media and communication.

  • The plan of Tatas to get into aggregating its consumer offerings aligns more with firms in the Gulf region than the technology companies in China and Southeast Asia.

  • Currently, Reliance Industries, under its Jio umbrella, is consolidated various services and offerings such as shopping, content streaming, groceries, payments, cloud storage services, ticket bookings, etc.

  • Further, Alibaba Group investee Paytm has also brought together services like payments, ticket bookings, games, online shopping, banking, consumer finance, etc into one app. 

  • Flipkart Group-owned payments app PhonePe has tied up with companies such as Ola Cabs, Swiggy, Grofers, AJio, Decathlon, Delhi Metro, booking.com, etc to offer these services from within its own app.

  • A country or a region becomes super app-ready when its large base of the population use smartphone first instead of desktop and the ecosystem of apps customised to local needs is not evolved.

  • India has already become a market where a majority of those experiencing the internet for the first time are doing so on their mobile phones. This is one of the main reasons why Indian companies are looking at building super apps.

  • The very concept of a conglomerate trying to keep a customer within its own ecosystem for most services they might require increases the possibility of a monopoly.