Super apps get a shrug in the states
The Future. Even though super apps are super popular in China, the American market may not really have a place for them, highlighting the inherent differences between the tech industry in both countries. That could spell trouble for the fintech platforms — PayPal, Affirm, and Klarna — that are pushing to create their own to help jumpstart growth.
Faith in fragmentation
In Forbes, Cornerstone Advisors chief research officer Ron Shevlin breaks down some reasons why super apps — “enclosed experiences that make it easy to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, as long as the tasks occur within the walled garden” — have an uphill battle for American adoption.
- In China, super apps, such as WeChat and AliPay, became popular because the smartphones in the country didn’t have the power necessary to run 40-50 separate apps. So, super apps were able to do more with less.
- But Americans have no problem running all those separate platforms and actually prefer to do it that way — Americans are skeptical of, say, a bank running food delivery and ride-sharing.
- Additionally, Americans are concerned about data privacy and security, so having one mega platform controlling all these various types of information could raise red flags.
- And with Big Tech run by a few “oligopolies” (Apple, Google), a company like PayPal making a super app would have to contend with all the services they already offer.
Shevlin does think that one company may have a shot at making a super app that people will want to use — Walmart. Why? Because the company has a large, low-to-middle-income customer base that is relatively underserved by Big Tech. Plus, making a walled-garden ecosystem is actually the company’s bread and butter.