Earlier this week, Elon Musk did an about-face in negotiations with Twitter, putting his $44 billion acquisition offer back on the table. He also hinted at his possible vision for the social media platform, tweeting that “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”
So what is “X, the everything app?” Musk has in the past floated the idea of turning Twitter into the next “super app,” on par with multi-faceted platforms popular in Asia, such as WeChat or Grab.
Back in May on the All-In podcast, Musk said that the US needs a super app. “It’s either convert Twitter to that, or start something new. It does need to happen somehow,” he said.
“If you’re in China, you kind of live on WeChat,” Musk said. “It does everything. It’s sort of like Twitter, plus PayPal, plus a whole bunch of things all rolled into one, with a great interface. It’s really an excellent app, and we don’t have anything like that outside of China.”
The super app, he continued, should serve as a “digital town square” that lets users leave comments and post videos. Once the platform had a high level of trust among the public, Musk said, “then payments, whether it’s crypto or fiat, can make a lot of sense.”
At a town hall event with Twitter employees a month later, Musk reiterated that idea. In China, “you basically live on WeChat,” Musk said, “because it’s so usable and helpful to daily life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even get close to that at Twitter, it would be an immense success.” He also suggested that Twitter’s user base could grow from just over 200 million to “at least a billion people,” CNN reported.
On Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said that “Twitter probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong.” The next day, he remarked, “Twitter is an accelerant to fulfilling the original X.com vision.”
Musk first co-founded an online bank called X.com in 1999, which later merged with another company to form PayPal. In 2017, he reacquired the domain name X.com from PayPal for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and via his car company Tesla, released the Model X in 2015.
To pursue his Twitter bid, Musk established three holding companies in Delaware, all with variations of the name “X Holdings.”
Creating a US-based “super app” in the US would be no easy task, especially given the number of heavy hitters with similar ambitions. Facebook and Instagram have pushed into e-commerce, for instance, while Snapchat experimented with peer-to-peer payments. Amazon has extended in several facets of everyday life, while Walmart is moving into digital banking.