After Elon Musk resurrected the agreement $44 billion to buy Twitter, many have begun to question what the mogul will be able to do with the platform if he gets it. Apparently, Musk himself has the answer. On Tuesday (6), he tweeted that buying Twitter is an “accelerator for the creation of X, the everything app” and his inspiration may be the Chinese app WeChat.
As much as Musk did not detail what he meant by the statement, everything suggests that the billionaire plans to turn the social network into a “super app” — that is, if you buy it yourself.
“Super apps” are nothing more than software that allow you to do everything: order food, call a taxi, send messages and even make payments. With this, there is no need to have multiple apps for different functions.
These apps are actually quite popular on the Asian continent. A great example is WeChat, from China’s Tencent. According to the company’s own data, the app has more than 1.2 billion usersof which at least 900 million use it every day.
During a meeting with Twitter employees last June, Tesla’s chief executive had already expressed some admiration for WeChat. Musk even said that there was no equivalent app outside of China.
“And I think there’s a real opportunity to create that,” he said. “You basically live on WeChat in China because it is very useful for your daily life. And I think if we could achieve that, or even [chegar] close to that with Twitter, it would be a huge success,” he concluded.
A prominent feature in the Chinese app is WeChat Pay, which makes payments just by scanning a QR code and also sends money to contacts within the chat — something WhatsApp later implemented. Musk said that adopting payment features on Twitter would be an “interesting thing to do.”
Fact is: super apps don’t seem to be a very viable idea in America and Europe, given that they don’t have much traction in western markets. Musk has already revealed his desire to have at least one billion active users on Twitter worldwide – today, however, the platform has around 400 million.
Making it a reality may not be easy, analysts say
In an interview with CNN Businessanalysts claimed that Musk may face several problems to make the “X” a reality.
The first of these is the extremely competitive scenario. According to Ivan Lam, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and even TikTok do “everything” to become “super apps”.
Xiaofeng Wang, an analyst at Forrester, says that when WeChat Pay was launched, there weren’t many established competitors. “Meanwhile, in the US, there are already PayWave, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo,” he says.
Another problem Musk may also face is regulatory agencies around the world, which tend to interpret attempts like the billionaire’s as an “assault” on antitrust laws.
“The more flexible regulatory environment in China at the time gave companies like Tencent and Alibaba more room to extend to a wider range of businesses,” says Wang.
He adds: “It would be a lot harder now given the stricter antitrust regulations in China and it would certainly be harder for Twitter or Future X to do that in the US.”
Still, Musk’s big challenge, for Ivan Lam, may be trying to reach all audiences with an “everything app”.
According to him, apps like WeChat have specific audiences, which makes it easy to adapt services based on your needs. For Lam, this would be difficult to replicate globally.
With information: Bloomberg, CNN Business