Imagine you want to go to a rugby game in Brisbane in a few weeks with some friends. You will probably jump across at least a few apps – coordinating plans on WhatsApp, buying tickets from Ticketmaster, booking a ride through Uber, and paying each other back for drinks over Venmo. But what if all that activity happened in one app on your phone? Meet the so-called 'super apps'.
Super apps refer to marketplaces that offer a wide range of products and services. Compared to standalone apps with a single function (single-purpose apps), super apps essentially serve as an all-in-one platform by bundling functionalities of single apps for virtually any product or service a customer may want or need, bypassing an app store like that of Apple.
Super apps gained popularity first in China. WeChat morphed from a messaging app into an ecosystem of services that includes taxi rides, payments/virtual wallets, hotel reservations, games, medical consultations and more. According to The Verge, there are about three million mini-apps in WeChat and about 1 million in Alipay, the second most popular super app in China.
In the Western world, tech firms are trying to catch up. While Snapchat introduced mini-apps within its ecosystem a few years ago, other social media giants like Facebook, Twitter or TikTok try to morph from single/dual use apps into more all-encompassing apps.
So how does an app become a super app? What are opportunities and challenges created by super apps? How hard will it be to convince consumers that a super app is more convenient (and trustworthy) than apps designed for a specific task? And how will super apps disrupt the banking industry and comply with data protection and privacy regulations? The purpose of this research project is to investigate the impact of super apps on consumers, industries, and/or societies.
O’Brien, M. (2022). The Shift To Super Apps: Will The Latest Trend Of Tech Giants Make Consumers Stay Online For Longer? Forbes, March 8, 2022.
Steinberg, M. (2020). LINE as Super App: Platformization in East Asia. Social Media + Society, April-June, 1-10.
Skills and experience
This project is ideal for a candidate with strong skills in qualitative research and academic writing.
Contact the supervisor for more information.