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Elon Musk has just rolled the dice on something so spectacularly bonkers that most people, rather understandably, initially thought it was a joke. Sadly, it isn’t – Twitter is now known as X…


Elon Musk has a bit of an obsession with the letter X. His first company was initially called X, before it switched to PayPal after he was replaced by Peter Thiel. Musk called his newest child something unpronounceable that begins with X, and we have, of course, SpaceX. 

Regardless of how much you love a certain letter, nobody in the right mind would take one of the most visible and well known brands on the planet and then, without so much of a hint of caution, dump it in the trash like yesterday’s leftovers. 

Why Is Elon Rebranding Twitter To X? 

But that is exactly what Elon Musk has done. He’s killing the Twitter name in favor of a new branding based around the letter X, and that’s not the end of it – tweets will no longer be called tweets; instead, they’ll be called X’s. You really couldn’t make this up… 

In June, Musk named Linda Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal marketing executive, CEO of the company.

She commented on the name change on Twitter Sunday afternoon: “It’s an exceptionally rare thing – in life or in business – that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.”

As the new venture begins, it faces challenges. Musk recently disclosed that the platform still has a negative cash flow due to a 50% drop in advertising revenue and heavy debt loads.

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And yet, this is now all happening, the changes are in motion. But what exactly is the play here? Elon loves WeChat, this is a well known fact, and WeChat is basically a utility in China. You need a WeChat account to do anything in cities in China, from paying for food to buying a bottle of water. 

Is this the plan for Twitter? To make it some kind of payment and ID platform, as well as a social network? That would explain why Musk was so hellbent on removing all bot and fake accounts. But it doesn’t get around the fact that the US and the rest of the world operate very differently to China which is now, more or less, a completely cashless society. 

X: The Everything App? 

Since his acquisition of Twitter, Musk has talked about lots of different initiatives for the platform from the possibility of publishing content, as you would on a traditional website, to improving ad performance and revenue creation. Plenty of it sounds like blue sky thinking, but a total rebrand of the platform indicates that Musk has some big, ground-shaking changes in the pipeline. 

And the only thing most people can think of is that Musk wants to turn Twitter into an everything app; something you can use to tweet on, order a pizza, book a flight, just as you can on WeChat in China. But there’s a problem with this line of thinking: Twitter – or X, as it is now known – is already a thing, a very well established thing, and changing that “thing” to something else is going to be next to impossible. 

Sure, adding in new features is always going to be welcome. But with things like Apple Pay, Stripe, and PayPal, as well as the Cash app, the payments market, especially in the US and elsewhere, is already fairly saturated, so how would X gain a competitive advantage here? In addition to this, would you hand over your personal details to X? Your social security number? Some would, for sure, but plenty of other people wouldn’t. 

Musk Is Attempting To Build A Super-App Like WeChat

The possibilities of creating a truly everything app for the US market is hugely tantalizing but its creation isn’t exactly a cakewalk. You have companies like Google and Meta and Apple attempting to do the same thing. Even the richest man in the world is going to struggle going up against these kinds of brands, and, lest we forget, Meta is already way out in front with its unholy trinity of apps: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. 

Here’s an overview of why Super-apps (or, an Everything app) is so important to US tech companies, according to research from Deloitte. 

Super-apps are redefining digital ecosystems globally. These all-in-one solutions integrate services typically handled across more than a dozen discrete apps under a single umbrella—digital wallets, ride-hailing, hotel booking, loan payments, and countless other features can all be accessed from a single app. 

Originating in China, the model has exploded in popularity across Asia, Africa, and Central America. While the model hasn’t gained traction in more Western markets like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, it offers a glimpse of what the next frontier might be for digital engagement.

But, again, cultural differences always dictate how products and services are used by consumers. In the West, we have more choice with everything – from social media platforms to online payment systems. In China, things like credit cards aren’t particularly common and neither are alternative online payment platforms like Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay. 

This is why WeChat works and has achieved the status of the world’s first everything/super application. Born from China’s unique market conditions, WeChat is a product of its environment; it developed alongside things like smartphones and the concept of mobile payments. And eventually, after acquiring 1.3 billion users, it achieved its goal of effectively becoming China’s official app for everything. 

X Goin’ Give It To Ya? Probably Not…

Musk loves this model too. But his approach, burning down the house to rebuild a new one, as opposed to a straight-up remodel, whereby new features are added and new abilities launched over a period of months and years, is probably not the best way to go about achieving it. And that’s before you even get to the fact that the US market is completely different from China’s. 

Really, to create a super-app like WeChat, you need a market that is locked down and controlled by the government. You cannot have competing platforms if your goal is to create one, super app that everybody uses. That’s the real secret sauce of WeChat’s success: it is backed by the CCP and in China the CCP’s word and backing is the law. 

Musk probably knows this but for some reason he doesn’t seem to care; or, perhaps he just knows something you and I don’t? Either way, I’m not going to pretend I’m smarter than Elon. But were I in his position, I certainly would NOT have axed the Twitter brand regardless of my future aspirations for the platform. Let me know what you think in the comments section below… 

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