Why super apps look very different depending on where they're from
Western tech giants are seeking to emulate the super app trend that took emerging markets by storm.
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The term “super app” has been tossed around the tech world for quite some time now, with Blackberry founder Mike Lazaridis being one of the first to define the term at the 2010 Mobile World Congress. Lazaridis referred to super apps as “a closed ecosystem of many apps that people would use every day because they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.”
While Blackberry never achieved such a vision, it can be argued that Apple fulfilled an even more potent version of it, by making the so-called “ecosystem of apps” captive of Apple’s proprietary hardware, the iPhone, and software, the App Store.
The first real-world debut of a super app per se was WeChat, the Tencent-backed Chinese giant that started off as a messaging app, before becoming a suite of services offering everything from ride-hailing to movie tickets. WeChat has imposed itself as one of the most impressive tech successes in history, now serving over 1.3 billion users.