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Smartphone 'superapps' are used by millions daily across Southeast Asia. (Nikkei photo illustration)
Industry in focus

Super apps: WeChat, Go-Jek and rivals battle to do it all in Asia

Services corral smartphone generation but critics warn of risks to innovation

COCO LIU, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- Michael Xu was spellbound. Soon after visiting relatives in China in 2017, the game developer from Toronto decided to fly halfway around the world -- again -- to learn how to build games for the Chinese app WeChat.

"WeChat is huge in China," Xu told the Nikkei Asian Review during an interview conducted through, well, WeChat. The 28-year-old Chinese Canadian was impressed by the way his relatives used the same software to do everything from paying bills and chatting with friends to ordering food. "Even my 88-year-old grandfather is a master user of WeChat," he said. "He uses it to call me and share photos and articles all the time."

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