Grab and GoTo Pare Back ‘Superapp’ Approach ⇥ ft.com
Mercedes Ruehl, Financial Times:
Grab and GoTo, south-east Asia’s biggest start-ups before their listings, took inspiration from the grandfather of superapps, Tencent’s WeChat. The Chinese app is the world’s most popular, with more than a billion users, and combines messaging, online payments, ecommerce, video conferencing, video games, photo sharing and a host of other functions.
Now the model — which relied on enticing customers with expensive subsidised perks such as free delivery, discounts and gifts to dominate markets from Thailand to the Philippines — faces a reckoning. In addition to laying off 11 per cent of its workforce, or more than 1,000 people, last month, Grab also cut its cloud-kitchen business, rolled back subsidies in areas such as food delivery and is spending less time on expansion into units such as entertainment.
This article was published less than one week ago, and it was the second thing I thought of after Twitter announced it was rebranding. The first was “what is X.com CEO Linda Yaccarino talking about?”, and I think the answer to that question might be found in that Tronc employee video from 2016.