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12 April 2022
Will there ever be an Indian super app?
Websites, online services, appsIndia
The sort of cross-category super apps that have developed in China and across parts of Southeast Asia may never take hold in India, although they may hold sway within certain verticals.
Why it matters
Super apps promise to make consumers’ lives easier, but they do so at the cost of tying them into a single ecosystem which can potentially be exploited by a malicious owner.
China’s super apps are the product of large digital-first tech companies that have also benefited from the government shutting out rival global tech businesses, explains T.N. Hari in Mint.
India has evolved differently, with, say, a grocery business developing apps for a particular offering but without the underlying tech architecture that would enable it to move easily into other areas.
The global trend is slowly shifting away from the monopolies that super apps imply; India’s launch of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) points to a more equitable and inclusive development process.
“Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart could be viewed as super apps, and have worked well for certain types of products and services. But neither of these super apps have been able to make a meaningful entry into taxi-aggregation, grocery, pharma, and home-services. Strong alternate vertically specialized apps have emerged in these two areas” – T.N. Hari, strategic advisor at The Fundamentum Partnership.