Capital A Partners Google Cloud for airasia Super App Development

(08 Apr 2022, 11:47 +07)
The airasia Super App has entered into a five-year strategic collaboration with Google Cloud.

The airasia Super App, which operates in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines, is part of Capital A’s digital pillar.

The platform offers flight and hotel bookings, e-commerce, food and parcel delivery, ride-hailing, financial and health services, on-demand education and more, anchored by an integrated rewards program and mobile wallet.

As part of their partnership, the two organizations will combine core competencies in order to nurture technology talent, co-create software tools for open innovation, deliver data-driven intelligence on behalf of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) on the platform, and ensure accessibility for diverse users in cities and rural areas.

From left: Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud; Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet; Tony Fernandes, Group CEO, Capital A

“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, 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. We may be late in the game, but with the Super App as the center of our ecosystem of e-commerce, logistics and fintech, we are determined to give all 700 million people in ASEAN inclusivity, accessibility and value.”

The strategic collaboration and ecosystem building efforts will encompass four pillars:

Talent Engine: The airasia Super App and Google Cloud will establish a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) consisting of AirAsia staff and Google Cloud technologists. The CCoE is expected to create an agile culture across all airasia Super App Business units to accelerate product development velocity, enabling teams to embrace change, and upskill talent. This includes tapping Google Cloud’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and MLOps best practices, so staff and AirAsia Academy graduates can strengthen their technical capabilities and meet the requirements of the fast-growing business. As an extension of Google Cloud’s product development team, the CCoE will also drive co-innovation efforts to shape technological advances for the region and beyond.

Seamless User Access: By leveraging Google Cloud’s secure and scalable infrastructure, and advanced microservices, serverless and networking technologies, the CCoE will enhance the airasia Super App so that it remains robust, reliable and lightweight as more features and services are continuously added. This ensures that the platform runs seamlessly when accessed by a high volume of users at any given time, including those in rural areas with intermittent internet connectivity or using lower-cost smartphones with less storage capacity.

Data-Driven Insights: By deploying Google Cloud’s analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, the CCoE’s data scientists can unify and analyze datasets to glean real-time insights into customer sentiment and emerging trends. These include an understanding of the travel sector’s recovery trajectory and consumption patterns around food delivery, ride-hailing and more. The insights will enable the platform to serve hyper-personalized recommendations to users on behalf of MSMEs and help grow these businesses’ revenue streams.

Empowering Partners and Developers: By adopting Google Cloud’s open-source principles and infrastructure, the CCoE will develop a suite of software development kits (SDKs) that ecosystem partners and external developers can use to create new features and services for airasia Super App users. These will include reusable software components for biometric identification, chatbots, e-wallets, online travel bookings and more. Google will also tap airasia Super App’s in-region network to expand its developer community in Southeast Asia.

“Super-apps are helping small businesses thrive and stimulate flourishing. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that 70 percent of new economic value generated in the next will be driven by digital platform business decade models,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud. “airasia 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.”

Amanda Woo, CEO, airasia Super App, said, “This is just the beginning, and we are looking forward to exploring further co-innovation initiatives with Google, whether in digital travel planning, self-driving cars, cloud gaming, startup investment, or supporting frontline workers through Google Workspace.”

See also: Exclusive Travel Industry Interview with Kurt Ekert, President of Saber.


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