Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group’s plan to roll out a super app to capture the e-commerce, streaming and tech services landscape is now drawing investor interest.
Retail giant Walmart Inc is in discussions with the Tata Group to purchase a large stake – amounting to US$ 20-25 billion – in the proposed super app, Mint newspaper reports, quoting sources.
As per the ongoing discussions, the super app could be launched as a joint venture between Tata and Walmart, which will enable leveraging on the synergies between Tata’s e-commerce business and Flipkart, the daily added. If the Walmart deal goes through, it will top its earlier $16 billion investment in Flipkart to buy a 66% stake.
The Tata Group is also reportedly in discussions with potential investors to sells stake in its new digital platform.
The super app is likely to be rolled out around December-January, and the range of services on offer will include food and grocery ordering, fashion and lifestyle, consumer electronics and consumer durable, insurance and financial services, education, healthcare and bill payments. It will also merge Tata’s existing e-commerce platforms such as Tata Cliq, StarQuik, Tata Sky, and Croma. The super app will compete with Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms and Amazon.
Analysts see India as a promising tech market due to the fast adoption of smartphones. The country currently has 620 million internet users and it is expected to touch 850 million by 2022, says Counterpoint Research.
Reliance Industries, promoted by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, had earlier attracted a total investment of $20 billion from 13 investors for its digital arm Jio Platforms. Prominent investors include Facebook, Google and a host of well-known private equity firms. The company is now trying to replicate the same for its retail arm Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd.
Reliance has also expressed interest in creating a super app combining its e-commerce services (JioMart) with its streaming (JioTV) and social media offerings.
The concept of super apps has gained traction in other parts of the world with WeChat and Grab being dominant in China and Southeast Asia, respectively. By offering a host of digital services in one place, super apps help retain customers as they do not have to check out competing apps.