General Studies Paper 3 (Science & Technology)
Question:- 89. What are Super Apps? What are the concerns associated with them? Explain. Answer in 150 words.
Oct 12, 2022


A super app is an omnichannel digital platform, i.e.- a platform developed by a company offering various services and products under one umbrella. For example, China’s WeChat, which started out as a messaging app, expanded into payments, cabs, shopping, food ordering, cab services to become a super app.

A country or a region becomes super app-ready when its large base of the population is smartphone first instead of desktop and the ecosystem of apps customized to local needs is not evolved.



1.PRIVACY: Apart from increased revenue realisation due to consolidation of services at one place, such apps also provide companies large swaths of consumer data which can then be harnessed to learn more about user behaviour. This puts consumer privacy at risk.

2.FREE CHOICE: Experts pointed out that data collected by the master app could then be used to train machines in artificial intelligence and predict consumer behaviour even more accurately raising issues of free choice.

3.MONOPOLY: The very concept of a conglomerate trying to keep a customer within its own ecosystem for most services they might require increases the possibility of a monopoly.

4. STORAGE ISSUES: A large chunk of India’s smartphone market belongs to lower-end smartphones, most of which come with limited availability of storage space.

5. RISK TO FINANCIAL SYSTEMS: Super Apps are disintermediating banks from their customers, which is not healthy for a financial system unless formal regulations are not in place concerning such apps.

6. COMPLEXITY: Many such apps in an effort to provide multiple services end up making the interface very complex which users tend to find hard to operate especially in countries like India where a major chunk of population finds digital space (or operating devices) hard.



Finally, since India is a multi-linguistic nation. So any super app must use vernacular language to increase consumer reach. Else, it would generate digital inequality between people who can understand English and others who can not. Keeping the concerns in mind and putting adequate measures in place, Super Apps can significantly improve user experience by making multiple services accessible through just one simple platform.