For its 1.3 million users in China, at least, WeChat is synonymous with the internet. WeChat is where they flag down taxis, book flights, shop on the web, watch films, and talk with companions.
It is a self-described superapp, and despite US tech leaders promising to replicate WeChat’s widespread use and business model, efforts to date have failed.
One of the many people who have promised a superapp—his most ambitious goal for Twitter, which he bought for $44 billion last year—is Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.
After all, Musk claims that the world’s richest man is the best person to finance an “everything app.”
In any case, his vision for what a supercharged Twitter would resemble is covered in secret — on the off chance that he even has a dream, and isn’t only spitballing to gin up open interest. Regardless of whether Musk sorts out some way to construct an imposing WeChat partner in the West, then another squeezing question emerges: Is it even necessary for anyone outside of China to have a superapp?
A quick timeline of Musk’s plans for a superapp in June 2022: During a Q&A session with Twitter employees, Musk stated, “Musk said during a Q&A with Twitter employees, expressing interest in building something like it for American users.
Oct. 20, 2022: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk tweets. He states, “probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong” regarding the acquisition.
April 2023: Twitter’s announcement to enterprise customers that it is now X Corp has stoked speculation that he is developing a superapp. Musk established X.AI, a brand-new AI company, days before this announcement.