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Tata Group to launch a ‘super app’ to offer various digital services: Report

Tata Group will launch a “super app” with an aim to offer its disparate consumer services on a common platform, the Financial Times reported. The app should be ready to launch in December or January, and will offer users to use a range of services offered by the Tata Group, including food and grocery ordering, fashion and lifestyle, consumer electronics and consumer durables, insurance and financial services, education, healthcare and bill payments.

“The Tata Group, depending upon how you count, touches several hundred millions of consumers in India, if you take consumers who are walking in everyday into a Tata facility,” Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons told FT.  “How do we give a simple online experience connecting all of this, and at the same time a beautiful omnichannel experience? . . . That is the vision”, he added. To be sure, among several other business verticals, Tata runs Tata Cliq, an e-commerce platform, selling consumer electronics, and apparels, among other things, akin to Amazon and Flipkart. It also has a separate e-commerce platform for selling groceries called StarQuik.

“Super apps” allow users to avail multiple services from within a app, and is a fairly popular concept in China. WeChat in China for instance is a similar app as it allows users to communicate, order food or hail cabs all from one app. In India, however, the concept hasn’t gained much traction.

When Facebook had invested $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore) in Jio Platforms in April, it said that Jio Platforms, Reliance Retail Limited and WhatsApp had also entered into a commercial partnership agreement to push JioMart, Reliance Retail’s small business commerce platform, on WhatsApp. In July, Mukesh Ambani revealed that JioMart was live in over 200 cities, witnessing more than 250,000 daily orders.

On top of that, India’s central bank, RBI recently said that the National Payments Council of India, which owns and operates UPI, had green lit WhatsApp to launch its payments functionality in India in June, after it had adhered to data localisation norms. We have previously pointed out that the potential integration of JioMart and WhatsApp could result in the latter becoming a “super app” of sorts, although that is yet to play out.

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