Vodacom working with Alipay to create “super app” for launch in 2021

Earlier today, Vodacom Financial Services and Alipay held a joint webinar to discuss a new solution that the pair are working on – a super app.

What is a super app? Well in Vodacom’s view it would be a solution that allows its users to perform many tasks via their mobile device.

“Imagine waking up to your favourite song, paying for your morning coffee, listening to a podcast on business management, sending money to your family, paying your utility bills, shopping online for everything from clothes, to groceries to electronics, checking on your business point of sales transactions and ordering new stock – all through the same, easy-to-use, super-app, from the convenience of your smartphone,” a Vodacom press release posits.

By the description, it sounds like Vodacom is wanting to create an all-encompassing app that leverages the convenience of your smartphone, and now the company is working with Alipay in order to bring it to fruition.

“This partnership is a significant milestone in promoting greater financial inclusion within the communities in which we operate, accelerating our financial services aspirations across Africa. We already offer South African customers an ecosystem of innovative digital financial services products, but this technology partnership with Alipay will enable us to be on par with leading global digital counterparts quicker and more efficiently,” says Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.

“We see this as an excellent opportunity for us to reinvent the mobile fintech ecosystem for both consumers and merchants in South Africa and we look forward to achieving this by working with Alipay,” he adds.

The super app will also serve as a marketplace, according to Vodacom, with merchants and businesses also standing to gain from its development.

To that end the company has outlined that this forthcoming super app will integrated into the physical footprint of VodaPay Point of Sale devices. Added to this will be the options available to SMEs, with VodaLend, business insurance, and other related products being made available via the super app.

Vodacom appears to be casting a wide net with this app too, as it says it will look to assist with access to services to those who have previously struggled in that regard.

“Vodacom Financial Services aims to remove the cost barriers traditionally associated with digital payments and further enable and promote financial inclusion in our country by allowing the emerging market more freedom to choose how they would like to process payments – QR code scanning being an example of this,” the firm adds.

As such, there is quite a bit to get sorted before the development of this super app is launched. When it comes to availability, Vodacom is slating it for early 2021, with the first stages of this project seeing the company recruiting the necessary skills required for this application.

“We are on the brink of a new fintech wave in SA, as Vodacom Financial Services embarks on developing and creating this world class super-app. To achieve this, we are on the lookout for the best skills and talent in the country,” notes Mariam Cassim, CEO of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.

“We want people who are willing to push the envelope, think creatively and most importantly, use the technology to develop customer-centric digital financial services solutions,” Cassim concludes.

An all-encompassing super app certainly sounds interesting, and we’ll have to see if Vodacom can have it up and ready in 2021.


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