The Tata Group is reportedly poised to unveil a “super app” by December or early next year, which will put the conglomerate in competition with rivals Amazon and Reliance Industries (RIL) in India—the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market.
The super app will provide food and grocery ordering, fashion and lifestyle, consumer durables, insurance and financial services, healthcare and bill payments. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons—the holding company of the $113-billion group said, “It will be a super app, a lot of apps in apps and so on. We have a very big opportunity.”
The development assumes significance following Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL raised $20 billion from private-equity firms and leading technology behemoths Facebook and Google in an attempt to expand its digital services arm Jio’s base. Worth mentioning here is that as per a Goldman Sachs May report, the online retail will account for 2.5% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, growing 15 times and touching $300 billion.
“The Tata Group, depending upon how you count, touches several hundred millions of consumers in India, if you take consumers who are walking in everyday into a Tata facility- How do we give a simple online experience connecting all of this, and at the same time a beautiful omnichannel experience? That is the vision,” the London-based business daily quoted Chandrasekaran as saying.
At present, the details of Tata Group’s super app are not available. The Tata Group, which manages fashion shopping app Tata CLiQ, grocery e-store StarQuik and online electronics platform Croma, is believed to offer a bouquet of products and services within the app.
Last year, the salt-to-software conglomerate had launched a new entity to incubate a new-age digital business called Tata Digital. Several news reports mentioned that Chandrasekaran had stated Tata Sons would infuse Rs 1,000 crore in the new vertical.
Super apps are popular in China where digital platforms owned by Tencent, Alibaba and Meituan-Dianping provide multiple products and services such as e-commerce, travel bookings, food delivery and ride bookings all within the same app. Many analysts are of the view that the concept of the super app is still at a nascent stage in India. Currently, a majority of online shoppers still use different apps across travel, food delivery and e-commerce other sectors.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that RIL and Facebook were toying with the idea of unveiling a multipurpose app, on the lines of Chinese super-app WeChat, by leveraging the WhatsApp platform and user base. The plan was to roll out a super app where buyers users would also be able to purchase staples through Reliance Retail stores, or shop at ajio.com, or make payments using JioMoney.