Vodacom (VOD) – Rise of the super apps

While Vodacom SA was a beneficiary of increased data demand, International suffered due to the adverse economic impact of the pandemic and the requirement to zero-rate peer to peer (P2P) transfers. Zero-rating has elicited financial services platform growth which should support future financial services revenue growth once economies recover. Vodacom’s ROE has declined significantly over the last 5 years – requiring it to find new growth vectors. Management appears to be more focused on growing its fibre presence both organically and inorganically. A super app in SA could prompt growth in new-services revenue. We assess the success of WeChat and Alipay in China and the market conditions that facilitated their phenomenal growth. Our analysis reveals significant differences between the addressable markets in SA and China which we believe could make adoption of a super app challenging in SA.