In The News

Is China the Only Place for Super Apps?

The Business Times

06 May 2019

Morrison & Foerster partner Jake Robson shared his thoughts on how the regulatory environment in Southeast Asia can favour super apps in The Business Times article, “Is China the only place for super apps?” (subscription required)

Mr. Robson reckoned that Southeast Asia's lack of a unified and sophisticated approach to regulating anti-competitive behaviour can favour super app operators. It enables them to gain critical mass in the region quickly through acquisitions and joint ventures, without the risk of the acquisition being blocked or divestments being required, he said.

“Regulation of data privacy and protection in Southeast Asia is very fragmented and, to the extent it exists, is on a national level and there is no unified approach across the region,” said Mr. Robson.

The fragmented environment can be both an advantage and a hindrance. “It is an advantage in that it allows these platforms far greater flexibility in how they collect, store and use customer data. But at the same time it means that they need to adapt their business models and compliance regimes to multiple regulatory regimes, which can lead to inefficiency,” he added.

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