Reports suggest a new super app to be launched in the Indian markets at the end of this year or early 2021. This time Tata is set to enter the market to compete against giants like Amazon and Flipkart in the Indian soil for market share. Recently Reliance Industries had made many forays in the different sectors of the retail market in India. They are often coined as the “fastest-growing e-commerce giant” of the state.
What is a Super App?
A class of applications that branches out to different sectors or brings multiple functionalities under one roof to meet several needs of a user. Effectively, it is an operating system that bundles in several features.
Chinese application WeChat when first released was just a messaging application but soon offered many services like payments, cabs, shopping, food ordering, cab services. This expansion to bring all these services under an umbrella helped them to gain their classification as a “super app”.
Typically, the companies that already provide a range of features bring them together for the creation of such an application. China and Southeast Asia saw growth in several super apps with the boom of the internet and its services over the years. Companies like WeChat, GoJek, Grab added features to their services to people who initially came for communication or social media needs. As the companies already had a decent amount of footfall to their sites. Their expansion brought them success.
We can also find companies like Majid Al Futtaim Group, Emaar, Chalhoub Group, which are well established in several aspects like retail malls and others. They also used their already built fame in these sectors and built their digital assets.
Super apps of India:
The super app ecosystem of the Indian market is already crowded with several parties enjoying their share of the market. The newbie of the sector will meet fierce competition from companies like Reliance. Reliance under their “Jio” umbrella keeps adding in features with every passing day. They already offer services such as shopping, content streaming, groceries, payments, cloud storage services, ticket bookings, etc. Paytm, invested by the Chinese multi-billion conglomerate Alibaba Group made their intrusion in several sectors, adding services like payments, ticket bookings, games, online shopping, banking, consumer finance, etc. in their application. Phone-PE, a company under the wings of Flipkart also tied up with several other companies and services like Ola Cabs, Swiggy, Grofers, AJio, Decathlon, Delhi Metro, booking.com, etc to offer those in their application.
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), owned by India’s richest man and world’s fourth richest man, Mukesh Ambani brought in several investments from tech giants like Facebook and Google to grow their retail arm. In April Facebook bought 9.99 percent in Jio platforms, spending $ 5.7 billion. A few months later Google also invested $ 4.5 billion to buy a 7.7 percent stake of Jio. Goldman Sachs May report suggests that the company will account for 2.5 percent of India’s GDP by 2030. By then they will see a growth of 15 times and it is estimated that their worth would touch $ 300 billion.
Reliance and Facebook are also reported to offer services like WeChat in Facebook-owned chat service Whatsapp. They would add features to the messaging service where the users can buy staples directly from Reliance Store, shop at ajio.com, and make transactions using Jio Pay.
Tata and their exploration in the new sector:
The “salt to software” conglomerate entering the new sector might have the potential to launch themselves. They have scheduled that the application would be up for grabs from late December of this year or early January of next year.
Various consumer-based businesses of the conglomerate will be brought under one application with the company’s introduction of the super app. Reports from Financial Times (FT) suggest that they might offer services like health care, food and grocery ordering, and insurance and financial services among others. The company already has a fashion arm Tata CLiQ, grocery e-store StarQuick and an online electronics platform Croma.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons in an interview had told FT, “It will be a super app, a lot of apps in apps and so on… We have a very big opportunity.” Tata Sons is a holding company of the Tata group that holds a bulk of shares in the Tata group of companies.
They launched a new entity last year, bringing a new-age digital business called Tata Digital. According to many reports the CEO of Tata Sons, Chandrasekaran, had stated that they would infuse ₹ 1000 crore in their new sector.