During the pandemic, most of the F&B merchants have to rely on food delivery platforms to continue running their business. It is also during this period when food delivery platforms are mushrooming, similar to what…
After the e-commerce boom, the all-in-on super app has become the holy grail of huge technology companies, especially in Asia.
Imagine ordering food delivery, hailing a ride, booking a local service, chatting with your friends – all in one app! Super app is a marketplace of services and offerings, fulfilled by in-house technology and through third-party integrations.
The majority of the Internet users in the Asian countries skip the computer era jumping straight to the mobile-first experience, this is one of the reasons why Asian tech companies are able to evolve into a “Swiss Army Knife” app instead of the product-centric approach by western tech companies.
Imagine how users in China use WeChat for almost everything, and how LINE is being used in Japan – it is like how you would think of Lazada and Shopee when you need to shop online.
This is the ultimate goal of the super app, to be the top-of-mind app to fire on your mobile whenever you need any services. It is also a perfect showcase of the much talked about O2O experience, be it online to offline, or vice versa.
In Southeast Asia, we are witnessing a battle between Grab, Gojek, and Sea Group to become the ultimate super app here. All three are well-funded with investments from Alibaba, Tencent (who owns WeChat), Google, Facebook, PayPal, etc.
Which are the existing and upcoming super apps in Malaysia? Here are the contenders of wining the super app race in Malaysia:
- Touch ‘n Go
For context, there are three components of being a super app, the company needs to offer at least two of the three service categories below to be labelled as a super app:
- Mobility: To move people around
- Delivery: To move goods or services around
- Financial: To let people pay digitally, borrow (loan), or invest
Initially started as a taxi e-hailing app, MyTeksi has been smartly renamed as Grab, which is much more brandable along with its super app ambitions. Grab is no doubt the most established and complete super app here, as you can basically “grab” everything with the app from ride, food, grocery to home services.
With a potential merger deal with Gojek being called off, Grab plans to go public on NASDAQ in partnership with Altimeter Growth Corp. – and continue the battle with Gojek and Sea Limited for the super app throne in Southeast Asia.
Mobility: Ride Hailing
Delivery: Food, Grocery, Package, Home Services
Financial: Lending, Insurance, Wealth Management, eWallet
Markets: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar
Accelerated by the pandemics, the leading no-frills airline in Southeast Asia is reinventing itself to become “The Asean Super App”. Right after the acquisitions of Gojek’s business in Thailand and DeliverEat (food delivery in Malaysia), airasia has launched its e-hailing services in Malaysia.
While Tony Fernandes is no doubt a successful entrepreneur, it remains to be seen whether airasia super app can really take off without the deep pockets and technology DNAs like its key competitors in the region.
Mobility: Flight, Hotel, Ride Hailing
Delivery: eCommerce, Grocery, Food
Financial: Credit Card, Personal Loan, Insurance, Investment
Markets: Malaysia, rolling out to other ASEAN countries
Started as a mobile-first online shopping app, Shopee has been growing by leaps and bounds, dethroning Lazada as the leading e-commerce company in the region. Shopee is one of the brands under NYSE-listed Sea Limited who also owns Garena (gaming) and SeaMoney (financial services).
After launching the food delivery business in 2021, Shopee is perhaps the most formidable super app competitor of Grab in Malaysia. The question is, when will they roll out ShopeeRide?
Delivery: eCommerce, Grocery, Food
Markets: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, etc.
Whenever Shopee is mentioned, Alibaba-backed Lazada has to be up there isn’t it? Shopee vs Lazada is like a battle between Tencent vs Alibaba in Southeast Asia. While they are the top dogs of e-commerce in this region, both brands are facing tougher competitors to become the leading super app in Southeast Asia.
At the time of writing, Lazada still hasn’t launched food delivery like Shopee yet, but ride-hailing services has been introduced in Singapore via ComfortDelGro. Let’s see how the services can be replicated or expanded to Malaysia and other countries.
Delivery: eCommerce, Grocery
Markets: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam.
Touch ‘n Go
Originated from a prepaid card to pay tolls, Touch ‘n Go (TNG) has evolved into e-wallet commonly used by Malaysians to pay merchants and of course, toll and parking. On the delivery end, TNG is more like a aggregator with third-party services like Lazada (who wants to be a super app itself), DeliverEat (who has been acquired by airasia), etc.
With Ant Group one of its shareholders, is TNG going head to head with Alibaba-backed Lazada down the super app path, or remain as an predominantly e-wallet app? Time will tell.
Mobility: Toll, Parking
Delivery: Aggregated with Partners
Financial: eWallet, Micro-Investment
Competing with Touch ‘n Go on e-wallet front, Boost is also quite similar with TNG on its aggregator approach with third-party partners. The hybrid Boost app (website packaged into a native wrapper) features merchants from retail, F&B, grocery, services, etc. in its marketplace.
Like TNG, Boost also offers online shopping, food delivery, insurance, and investment services via its partners. E-wallet (including bill payment) and parking (street and gated parking) are the only 100% “native” in-house technologies powered by Boost.
Delivery: Aggregated with Partners
Financial: eWallet, Insurance & Investment (by Partners)
Without the technology DNA and fundamentals, it is quite ambitious for a traditional retailer to announce its super app plan. Gearing for IPO, perhaps this is Senheng’s plan to sell the dreams to potential investors with its “S-branded” services under the Super App.
While on-demand home-fix services is already live along with its e-commerce and membership services, S-Food (food delivery), S-Coin (e-wallet), etc. are yet to be launched at the time of writing.
Delivery: eCommerce, Home Services, Food (coming soon)
Financial: eWallet (coming soon)
Like the online shopping and e-wallet brands mentioned earlier, prominent players with huge customers and merchants base are equipped with the fundamentals to embark on the super app initiatives.
For example, Carousell (online marketplace), Fave (deals platform), Foodpanda (how about rebrand to “The Panda”) – just to name a few. It is easier said to be done though.
Even the government has announced that MySejahtera could be expanded to a super app to include the e-commerce, education, and delivery services sectors. With 25 million Malaysians registered, please handle with care okay?