Singapore’s main Engish Daily The Straits Times, has just relaunched their 4 year old SoShiok app.
First launched back in February 2010, SoShiok is a simple app (iOS for now) that allows you to keep up-to-date with the latest food news and reviews from your favourite Singapore Press Holdings food critics: It is developed by SPH’s news portal AsiaOne and named after its food website SoShiok.
Some of its features include:
- Following food news and reviews from Straits Times food editor and various food critic
- Find out where to eat on SoShiok’s restaurant listings
- Want to cook? Check out its Foodie Guides section, featuring the popular Cheat Sheet and Grape 101 columns. Users can learn about ingredients and look for wines and wine-pairing suggestions.
- Users can also register a user profile and get rewarded for using the SoShiok app. Points are given for reading or liking a new article, for example, or for submitting a food review.
“Food is Singapore’s national passion. Our ST food writers and pages are among the best-read in the paper, as people enjoy reading about places to check out, recipes to try, or new trends in the food scene. Now, with this new app, all of that content is right there on your phone.” – Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez
According to mobile app tracking site App Annie, the app was first launched in February 2010, and went through several rounds of iterations in 2011. There wasn’t any major updates since, until earlier this week.
The new relaunch is a clear sign that Singapore Press Holdings is looking closer at the food space, and perhaps starting to show their signs of aggression. Along with the relaunch, some of its early users stand a chance to win 10 SoShiok Goodie Boxes filled with gourmet food items, each worth about S$150.
For the longest time, various Singapore apps such as Burpple, HungryGoWhere, Yelp, Picky, and OpenRice, among others have been trying to be the mobile food app market leader. As we increasingly spend more time on mobile and using it to search for food, these mobile apps have been launched to help people on the go to easily discover great food around them.
Could So Shiok stand out from the sea of mobile apps out there?
Definitely, if the team decide to commit and focus on the development of the app. In terms of competitive edge, So Shiok has the strong financial backing by Singapore Press Holdings. Adding on to the backing is that SPH owns a strategic stake in leading Singapore restaurant reservation site Chope, which puts So Shiok in a unique position to form any partnerships between the two food apps.
SPH’s strategy in both So Shiok and Chope made sense: once you are done browsing and choosing which restaurants you want to visit through So Shiok, you can then proceed to reserve a table at the restaurant through Chope.
While it is unclear whether SPH will be focusing their resources on So Shiok for now, their recent revamp of So Shiok definitely leaves some food for thought. For other food apps who are looking to exit to SPH through any merger or acquisitions, they now need to work harder to acquire more users and customers onboard their app. Why? Because SPH now has their own food app which they are channeling resources to, and it might not make sense for them to acquire another food app into their portfolio, unless of course the food app has a huge user base and any exclusive merchant partnerships with restaurants.
What we are waiting to see now is if SPH will launch an Android version of So Shiok, which would tell us that SPH is serious about the mobile food space.
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