The news: Tech mogul Elon Musk would consider turning Twitter into a super app with a prominent role for payments should he finalize his planned purchase of the social media platform, according to comments made in a recent All-In podcast.
More on this: Musk called Tencent-owned WeChat a “good model” for a super app, noting that nothing like it exists outside of China.
He said it's important for content creators to have revenue streams and that integrating payments into such an app, whether they’re cryptocurrency or fiat, would be beneficial. Musk’s pitch to investors to fund the acquisition involves bringing in as much as $15 million from a Twitter payments business in 2023. Twitter’s current payments business is “negligible,” according to the New York Times.
But Musk also said that an app like this doesn’t necessarily need to be created from Twitter, adding that it could be something new, built from scratch.
Key context: WeChat and Alipay have risen to prominence thanks to their all-encompassing apps that span commerce, finance, transportation, and more.
There has yet to be any other platform, particularly in the US, that resembles these players. But several payment providers have been shifting to support a wider array of consumer needs in the last year—and become one-stop shops for consumers’ needs.
Super apps are appealing because they solve the issue of choice overload—minimizing the number of apps and digital services consumers need to manage: About one-third of US consumers said they feel overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they need to manage, per 2021 Deloitte data.
Why it’s worth watching: Certain features could make Twitter a good super app contender.
The big takeaway: While Musk’s Twitter deal remains up in the air, it could be a harbinger for Twitter’s transition to a super app. But it will be a long time before the platform can develop several features—and encourage users to adopt those features—before Twitter can define itself as a super app.