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Elon Musk's Plans to Transform Twitter into a Super App
The Vision for X: The Everything App
When Elon Musk was in the process of buying Twitter last year, there was a lot of debate about his plans for the app. In October, the billionaire said buying Twitter was an "accelerant to creating X, the everything app," without providing further details. On Monday, Musk officially changed Twitter's famous bird logo to an "X," marking his push to change the platform into something more than just a social media service. Musk and Linda Yaccarino, the newly-appointed CEO of the company, envision X as a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.
Inspired by Super Apps Like WeChat
These goals laid out by Musk and Yaccarino sound very much like the idea of a "super app" which was pioneered in China and has taken off in other parts of Asia. Super apps refer to a type of app that allow users to carry out multiple functions without having to leave the app. The biggest super app in the world is called WeChat which is run by Chinese technology giant Tencent and has over 1.3 billion users.
WeChat as a Model
WeChat is primarily an instant messaging app like WhatsApp, but it also has payments and users can access other apps within it such as e-commerce and banking. Musk has likely taken inspiration from WeChat, an app he called "great" last year. Musk said there is no WeChat equivalent outside of China. "I think that there's a real opportunity to create that," Musk told employees. "And I think if we could achieve that, or even close to that with Twitter, it would be an immense success."
The Challenges and Opportunities
Creating a super app in the U.S. or Europe may be much more of a challenge compared to China and other parts of Asia. Online payments, an area Musk wants to push into, are fragmented with no single dominant company. Additionally, the competition in ride-hailing, food delivery, and social media is intense. Despite these challenges, Musk sees X as a broader communication app rather than just short posts. By increasing character limits and adding new features like payments, Musk aims to turn Twitter into a communication tool that keeps users engaged. However, to achieve the level of success of WeChat in the U.S. or Europe will require overcoming unique obstacles and considerations.
Conclusion: What Does This Mean for New Businesses?
Elon Musk's plans to transform Twitter into a super app, inspired by the success of WeChat, could have significant implications for new businesses. If Musk and his team manage to successfully execute their vision, it could create new opportunities and challenges in the digital marketplace.
The Potential Benefits
- Diversified Platform: The transformation of Twitter into a super app would provide new businesses with a platform that goes beyond social media. It could serve as a one-stop-shop for communication, e-commerce, and more.
- Increased Reach: As a global marketplace for ideas and services, X could attract a diverse user base, allowing businesses to access a wider audience and potentially expand their customer base.
- Integrated Features: If X incorporates features like online payments or access to other apps, it could simplify customer interactions and streamline the purchasing process, offering convenience for businesses and users alike.
The Unique Challenges
- The Competition: In the U.S. and Europe, the digital landscape is already highly competitive, with established players in various sectors. To succeed, new businesses would need to differentiate themselves within an already crowded marketplace.
- Payment Fragmentation: Online payments in the U.S. and Europe lack a dominant player like WeChat's integrated payment system. Businesses would need to consider various payment options and find ways to navigate the fragmented landscape.
- Adapting to the Super App Model: The transition from a social media platform to a super app may require businesses to rethink their strategies and adapt to new features and functionality. It would be vital to stay informed about the evolving capabilities of X and leverage them effectively.
In conclusion, if Elon Musk succeeds in transforming Twitter into a super app like WeChat, new businesses could benefit from expanded opportunities and a more integrated digital marketplace. However, they would also need to navigate the unique challenges posed by intense competition and the fragmented payment landscape. Keeping a close eye on the development and adoption of X would be essential for new businesses seeking to capitalize on this potential transformation.Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/26/elon-musks-x-rebrand-reignites-goal-to-turn-twitter-into-chinas-wechat.html