“Elon Musk’s Plan for Creating an ‘Anything App’: Understanding the Mechanics of the World’s Most Popular App”

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has announced that he plans to transform the social media platform into an “everything app,” taking inspiration from Tencent’s WeChat. WeChat has over 1.3 billion monthly active users, the largest in the world, and offers a wide range of services including messaging, payments, e-commerce, news, and government announcements. WeChat also allows access to third-party services without the need for additional accounts or apps. Musk’s ambition to create a “super app” faces significant hurdles, including payment integration, which is a crucial factor in WeChat’s success. Chinese adults heavily use mobile payments, whereas US adults do not, making it uncertain whether Americans would adopt Twitter’s payment system.

The popularity of WeChat was evident in 2020 when the Trump administration proposed a ban on the app in the US, with some possibilities of WeChat being removed from Apple’s App Store. A social media survey in China showing that 95% of iPhone users are willing to switch brands if their Apple devices cannot access WeChat emphasizes its popularity among Chinese users.

Musk’s ambitions to turn Twitter into an “X” has been his passion even before he planned to acquire Twitter. He believes that transforming Twitter into an “everything app” is easier than starting a new app from scratch. He has shared his intentions to turn Twitter into a PayPal competitor and the world’s largest financial institution. Musk is not the first Silicon Valley executive to acknowledge WeChat’s success in the US. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also appreciated the app’s success and stated that his company should learn from it.

Silicon Valley executives’ dreams of creating a “super app” face significant obstacles in payment integration, the same obstacle Musk faces with Twitter. WeChat’s success lies in being one of China’s two largest payment platforms. Its integration is built around payment functionality and can be accessed through a Chinese bank account. However, Musk is confident that turning Twitter into an “everything app” would speed up the process by three to five years.

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