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‘Super Apps’: The next big thing in proptech

By Bianca Dabu
14 May 2021 | 1 minute read
China proptech

Gearing up for penetration into the proptech industry, China has highlighted a rise of Super Apps — one of the main foundations of its digital ecosystem.

Over the years, China has successfully emerged as a global technology trendsetter, particularly across the retail, e-commerce and mobile payment sectors, MetaProp’s Deep Dive: Proptech in China report has highlighted.

Ultimately, the country’s global dominance in digital transformation has unlocked its potential for growth in yet another sector: property technology.

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REB has previously looked at five reasons the global giant is ready for proptech

“Chinese development is still slightly behind that of the US and Canada, but China’s cutting-edge approach to retail, e-commerce and mobile payment has unlocked its potential for proptech growth,” the report considered. 

Outlining the trends on the horizon for proptech in China, MetaProp put the spotlight on Super Apps as leading the country’s bid for proptech market share.

According to the report, these all-in-one platforms have “become synonymous with the rise of Chinese super products such as WeChat and Alipay — each has built a multi-faceted and multi-sector digital ecosystem”.

Since its inception, the messaging app WeChat has evolved into one of the most comprehensive digital ecosystems, with over 1 million mini-programs that penetrate multiple aspects of Chinese life.

Similarly, Alipay, which started as a mobile payment app, now offers a multitude of services, including retail, bookends and utility bill payments via mini-apps.

How does it work?

According to MetaProp, Super Apps generally acquire users through a core function, such as messaging, mobile payment, ride-hailing or food delivery.

Then, as their reach grows, more services are integrated via in-house product development and third-party service integration.

Finally, external companies could then build a “mini program” within the Super App “to leverage its existing functions, such as mobile payments and subscription accounts, without requiring users to download an additional app or change user interface”, the report explained further.

Value of the Super App

Ultimately, Super Apps can provide a “seamless, integrated, contextualised and efficient experience” within the property industry, MetaProp said.

As the Super App integrates many third-party services, it stands to provide great value for customers and greater opportunities for businesses as they gain loyalty from a wider audience, the report continued.

WeChat, for instance, has 1 billion active users monthly, receiving 29 per cent of all time spent on mobile devices.

Super Apps can also allow businesses access to large volumes of customer data, which they can use to generate insights for the expansion of their products and services.

As an example, MetaProp highlighted that Alipay, as the payment method on Taobao, through which it “collects behavioural and transactional data... It used the data to build a credit rating system through Ant Financial for personal and business loans”.

Super Apps serve as a good foundation for digital ecosystems as it “broadens the scope of businesses without spending millions on product development”.

Some of the early Super Apps for proptech have been offering services covering several aspects of property investment, including in-home transactions and rentals services, thus creating a one-stop shop for home buying and renting.

“These platforms cover all aspects of daily life, providing a one-stop service while retaining the role of e-commerce and social media as their major revenue pools,” the report concluded.

‘Super Apps’: The next big thing in proptech
China proptech reb
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