Super-app race kicks off

August 15, 2018 | 11:16 am GMT+7

Domestic and foreign developers such as Grab, Zalo and Line are running a race of developing super-apps as they believe ‘early birds will catch the worm’.


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IT firms are running a race of developing super-apps

In retailing, one-stop-shop means an integrated shop where consumers can buy a lot of goods and services. A similar concept also exists in technology – all-in-one app, which means an app which can be used to order many different services, called ‘super-app’.

“Our goal is becoming an app in Southeast Asia which can satisfy all your essential needs in daily life anytime and anywhere, and can serve your needs before you realize you need them,” said Jerald Singh of Grab.

Grab said it has received another $2 billion worth of capital from the latest capital call.
The super-app battle is heating up in Vietnam. Zalo recently announced it is seeking business director for O2O (online to offline commerce), offering high pay of VND120 million a month. 

It also launched the trial version for the app with the same name when integrating e-hailing service (Zalo Taxi), food ordering (Zalo Food), online tourism (Zalo Travel), financial news (Zalo Bank) and e-government related services.

Prior to that, Zalo stated that it had 100 million users as of May. The next step Zalo may take, according to analysts, is providing the users with all necessary services so as to retain them with its ecosystem.

Go-jek, the direct rival of Grab, is also developing super-apps. Go-Viet, the subsidiary of Go-jek in Vietnam, has just launched motorbike hailing service. However, analysts believe that other services will be introduced soon.

Another ‘big guy’ expected to join the super-app playing field may be LINE, belonging to Japanese Naver. LINE was a familiar name to Vietnamese in 2012-2013, the time which witnessed messaging app boom. However, LINE quietly left Vietnam which made room for Zalo and Facebook Messenger.

LINE said it now has over 168 million users in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia. However, the growth in number of new users has slowed since 2015.

Le Hoang Uyen Vy from ESP Capital commented that in the super-app battle, online payment will serve as the platform while add-on services will help attract and retain users.

Nearly all developers have their own online payment services. Grab has GrabPay, Go-jek has Go-Pay. They all want to accelerate the number of online transactions via the platforms. 

According to Statista, the online payment value in Vietnam in 2017 was $6.14 billion and the figure is expected to double by 2022.