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India's superapp battle kicks off with Facebook-Jio alliance

New tie-up will challenge current leader Paytm in crowded field of app startups

Jio, India’s youngest but biggest mobile operator is owned by Reliance Industries, one of India’s most powerful family conglomerates (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- The race to become India's top superapp has kicked into high gear, and funds from overseas technology titans are set to poor into homegrown startups.

The success of WeChat and Alipay in China as multipurpose superapps -- platforms with integrated chat functions, payment and financial services, online shopping and so on -- has been one of the biggest influences on mobile-service startups around the world.

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