India’s Tata Group is reportedly looking to roll out a “super app” that will pit it against rivals, including Amazon
and billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries, in one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets.
The new digital platform, which is scheduled to launch in India in December or January, will bring together Tata’s various consumer businesses under one channel, offering health care, food and grocery ordering, and insurance and financial services among others, according to the Financial Times.
“It will be a super app, a lot of apps in apps and so on…We have a very big opportunity,” Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the $113 billion Tata Group, told the FT.
So-called super apps — such as multi-service platform Meituan Dianping
WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide — are one-stop portals where users can access a variety of approved third-party services, like ordering food delivery, paying bills or hailing a cab.
Although they have been growing rapidly in emerging markets such as China and Southeast Asia, they have yet to gain traction in India or the West.
In April, Facebook
spent $5.7 billion to buy a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms, the digital arm of Reliance Industries
The move was designed to bring India’s 400 million WhatsApp users into closer partnership with hundreds of millions of India’s grocers and small businesses.
Three months later, Google parent Alphabet
invested $4.5 billion for a 7.7% stake in Jio.
Tata, which also owns Tata Motors
and its luxury-car unit Jaguar Land Rover, Tetley Tea and Corus (formerly known as British Steel), has fallen behind rivals on its consumer internet offerings.
“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,” Chandrasekaran told the FT.