bKash Integrates bdtickets, bKash SuperApp follow-up
If you are a bKash app user you should know that bKash sent a new update notification this morning. If you pay attention to the update description that comes along with every app update notification, there are two from bKash this time: one bKash has made traveling easy, the company writes in its app update. Now you can buy bus, train, air, launch, movie tickets directly from bKash app. Two, there are as usual bug fixes.
This, however, is not an entirely new announcement from bKash. Earlier, the company integrated train ticketing in collaboration with Bangladesh Railway.
The important distinction, however, is that this time bKash has integrated another service provider bdtickets.com into its app. Now when you click on, say, for example, air ticket option, bKash app takes you to a separate window where there is bdtickets as a service provider and when you click on bdtickets, a separate window within bKash app opens bdtickets home page where you can make the purchase.
Again, the important aspect is that although bdtickets.com’s branding is there, all of this happens within the bKash app and the customer does not have to leave the bKash app for once. Bdtickets.com’s home page opens within the bKash app. Purchasing happens in the bKash app. Bdtickets.com is integrated into bKash in such a way that you will never have to leave the bKash app.
This is far more significant a move than integrating Bangladeshi Railway.
Bdtickets.com is an independent online ticketing company that came out of Robi Axiata Limited. The company has been trying to build an online ticketing business for a while now. Founded in 2015, Bdtickets.com remains a key player in Dhaka’s online ticketing space. While Shohoz, one of the earliest online ticketing platforms, expanded to other verticals such as ride and food, bdtickets.com continues to invest in the ticketing space.
bKash integrating bdtickets.com into its platform explains a major piece of bKash’s long-term strategy to become the super-app or a dominant digital services platform in Dhaka.
I have long anticipated that bKash will take this route for growth and for securing its future today or tomorrow. I wrote in bKash Adds Train Ticket, bKash And SuperApp:
“bKash has added a new service to its app – you can now directly buy a train ticket from the bKash app without leaving the app. A development with many meanings. The process is simple – download the bKash app, go to the ticket option, click on the icon, choose a train ticket, give your details, make the payment, you are done and ready to go wherever is your destination. This is an intriguing development that has indications for what bKash could pursue in the coming years. It is very well possible for bKash to bring all types of ticketing services on to its app and it could easily happen with many other services. In fact, at the risk of being a little speculative, the scale of bKash and its rapid rise in the digital payment space makes it the only viable candidate in Dhaka’s tech ecosystem to become a super app. bKash as a super app. If you pay attention, bKash has already done some work in this direction.
If you consider a Superapp, there are certain conditions that enable a digital platform to pursue such an ambition. One, a large enough user base that uses your product daily and you have a direct relationship with your users- demand aggregation. Two, an underlying infrastructure that connects one service with others – the necessary condition for selling one more service using the same infrastructure and at zero marginal cost. Three, decreasing acquisition cost and a multi-sided market with certain network effects and inherent incentives for every party who participates. bKash fulfills all these conditions.”
bKash as a platform
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Ruhul Kader is a technology business and technology policy analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at [email protected]