What Makes Some Apps Super?
With news coverage of the Ant Group IPO raising awareness of fintech apps throughout Asia, some people might be hearing the term ‘Super App’ for the very first time. The term was originally used by Blackberry founder Mike Lazaridis in 2010, when he defined a super app as a closed ecosystem of apps that offer “a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.”
A super app contains a number of different functions in one user experience, and centers around payments. The term really took off in the Asia-Pacific region, where two of our top six, Grab and Gojek, developed their apps to offer multiple services to their users.
Rapyd’s Pick for the Top 6 Super Apps
We’ve collated our pick of the top Super Apps that have been most influential in driving and defining the super app trend.
Grab: Originally a ride-hailing service like Uber, Grab moved into the financial sphere in 2018 when GrabPay, a digital wallet service, was added.
- 187 million total users.
- Services include movie ticket sales, hotel bookings, food delivery, business loans and more.
- Available in 330 cities.
Go-Jek: Go-Jek began in Indonesia as a motorcycle ride-hailing phone service, and has grown into a popular multi-service app.
- Services include food delivery, parcel delivery, movie ticketing, grocery delivery and more.
- Started with 20 motorcycle drivers.
- Currently has more than 2 million drivers-partners.
Kakao: South Korea’s Kakao started life as a messaging app, with KakaoPay being introduced in 2014. In a country of just over 50 million people, 41 million of them are active monthly Kakao users.
- Merged with Daum Communications in 2014.
- Services include music streaming, investments, ride-hailing, video games, social network and more.
- 48 million monthly users.
Paytm: As well as being India’s biggest mobile payments platform, Paytm offers users a plethora of integrated services, things like food delivery, public transport ticketing and travel booking.
- 350 million users.
- 60 million bank accounts on the Paytm bank platform.
- 220 million cards saved.
WeChat: Based in China, Tencent Holding Ltd’s super app WeChat (another that started as a messaging service) became the biggest standalone mobile app in the world in 2018.
- Over 1 billion active monthly users.
- Services include gaming, bill payments, ride-hailing, medical appointment booking and more.
- 2.5 million companies using WeChat Work, the business communication service.
AliPay: AliPay was started as a digital wallet in 2004 by Ali Group’s founder Jack Ma, and is now one of the most well-known and used apps in Asia.
- 730 million monthly users.
- Services include travel, digital discount coupons, bill payments, mobile phone top-ups and more.
- Over 1.3 billion total active users.
While super apps are mainly known as multi-fuction apps that integrate payments technology in Asia, the trend is quickly spreading. Social media platforms like Instagram are integrating commerce. Uber is expanding its offerings from ride-hailing by adding services like food delivery and e-bikes. MercadoPago and AmazonPay are both becoming preferred payment methods on third-party sites. Other well-known players in the global marketplace, like Airbnb, have expressed an interest in developing their own integrated super app style offerings as well.
Globally, the super app trend is still in its early stages, particularly in the West, but with ecommerce and digital payment methods growing in adoption, Super Apps are poised to become a global phenomenon in 2021.
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