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China's 'Universal Apps' that Put Airbnb out of Business

These Chinese Apps are Driving Western Competition out of the Market by Offering all Kinds of Services..

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Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Las "aplicaciones universales" de China que sacaron del mercado a Airbnb

A few days ago, a rumor was circulating that Airbnb could cease operations in China. The application, which already has all its employees working from home, seems to have failed in the Asian giant.

There has been a lot of speculation regarding Airbnb leaving this country. For example, some have cited the strict measures against COVID-19 as the main reason behind this decision. And while China's "zero COVID" strategy certainly puts pressure on the hotel industry, this would not be the main cause of the app's departure.

Instead, the Wall Street Journal cites the popularity of “Mega-Apps” that bring together countless services in that country, making the use of apps that provide a specific service like Airbnb redundant.

Today in LatinAmerican post we want to talk to you about some of these universal applications that are eliminating Western competition from the Chinese market.

Meiutan- The discount giant

Just saying that Mieutan is considered as the “Amazon” of China should be enough to imply the number of services that this application is capable of. Inspired by discount company Groupon, Meiutan was founded in 2010.

Over the years, it has gained popularity by leaps and bounds, to the point that today it has more than 600 million users.

The app is an all-in-one platform that encompasses a number of impressive services. These include food deliveries, online shopping, entertainment services, transportation services (such as booking taxis), and a wide variety of tourism and travel services.

AliPay- The payment giant

The equivalent of the American “PayPal”, AliPay is a digital wallet with more than 1.2 billion users globally. In China, it is used to make any virtual payment, as well as for payments at hundreds of local businesses. The application offers financial services such as money transfers, payment of public services and the possibility of managing expenses within your circle of family and friends. Additionally, it can be used to book travel tickets, movie tickets, make restaurant reservations or order food at restaurants.

WeChat- The chat giant

The most popular chat app in China. WeChat has more than 1.2 billion users and is one of the most used applications in the world, with numbers comparable to those of Facebook and Instagram. It is estimated that 78% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 in China use this app.

Created by Tencent, one of the largest companies in China, WeChat offers just about anything its users could possibly need. The app connects directly to DiDi, Pinduoduo and JD.com. These are respectively a transportation service, a food distribution service (rappi style) and an online sales service which are extremely popular in themselves.