AirAsia has unveiled a five-year strategic collaboration with Google Cloud to advance Super App capabilities through cloud-based co-innovation across Southeast Asia.
Central to such efforts will be the combination of core competencies to nurture technology talent, the co-creation of software tools for “open innovation” and the delivery of data-driven intelligence targeting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) on the platform. This is in addition to improved accessibility for diverse users in cities and rural areas.
Operating as a digital travel and lifestyle platform, Super App forms part of Capital A’s digital pillar alongside AirAsia as a multinational airline.
The platform offers flight and hotel bookings, e-commerce, food and parcel delivery, ride-hailing, financial and health services and on-demand education among other solutions, supported by an integrated rewards program and mobile wallet.
Since launching during 2020, Super App has become one of three unicorns headquartered in Malaysia, according to Credit Suisse, and currently houses 51 million users across ASEAN.
“Five years ago, when I decided to move our digital journey to its next stage, I was looking for a partner to help us reach that nirvana, much like how Airbus and General Electric helped us grow from a little two-plane operation to become the fourth largest airline in Asia,” said Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A.
“I went around the US looking for that partner, met Diane Greene from Google Cloud, and the journey started. With Thomas and his team, we are now on the road to disrupting the digital platform arena in the same vein as we did airlines.”
Despite acknowledging that Capital A is “late in the game” from a digital perspective, Fernandes said Super App now operates at the “centre of our ecosystem” specific to e-commerce, logistics and fintech.
“We are determined to give all 700 million people in ASEAN inclusivity, accessibility and value,” he added. “With Google’s help, our ecosystem will not only be transactional, but be about building community, and enriching that community – not just the customers but partners like restaurants, airlines, hotels and drivers. What we are doing is not evolutionary, but revolutionary. I’m going to enjoy the ride with Google.”
To help create an “agile culture and co-innovation talent engine”, Super App and Google Cloud will establish a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) consisting of AirAsia Allstars and Google Cloud technologists.
The move is designed to “embed an agile culture” across all Super App business units to “accelerate product development velocity” and up-skill talent, supported by access to Google Cloud’s site reliability engineering (SRE) and MLOps best practices.
“To benefit everyone across Southeast Asia’s heterogeneous communities, the Super App must be simple and easy-to-use while underpinned by inclusive design, interoperability and personalisation,” outlined Amanda Woo, CEO, Super App.
“It’s therefore crucial that we leverage Google’s rich experience in building global platforms and ecosystems to equip and engage more talent, entrepreneurs and partners who can provide even more tailor-made solutions that fit users’ lives.”
In looking ahead, Woo said discussions are also underway to explore further co-innovation initiatives with Google Cloud, spanning digital travel planning, self-driving cars, cloud gaming, start-up investment and supporting frontline workers through Google Workspace.
“Super-apps are helping small businesses thrive and stimulate economies,” noted Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. “In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that 70 per cent of new economic value generated in the next decade will be driven by digital platform business models.
“Super App is an inspiring example of a company that’s innovating using cloud-first technologies to better reach and serve their customers. We’re proud to be working with Tony and his team to further develop talent and an open innovation ecosystem to meet diverse digital lifestyle needs across Southeast Asia.”