| New Delhi |
Updated: July 12, 2020 3:37:04 pm
India’s recent ban on 59 Chinese apps, including the popular short video platform TikTok, has created new opportunities for homegrown apps like Roposo and ShareChat. Data provided by analytics platform Sensor Tower show that between June 29 and July 8 ShareChat downloads increased by 257 per cent, whereas Roposo downloads grew 82 per cent.
InMobi-owned Roposo was already a popular short-form video platform but its popularity shot up after the Indian government banned TikTok. Between June 19 and June 28, Roposo was downloaded by 4,900,000 smartphone users in India. But between June 29 and July 8, the downloads shot up to 8,900,000, an increase of 82 per cent compared to the 10 days before. Roposo now claims it has over 65 million users in India.
ShareChat too saw a rise in downloads since India banned the Chinese apps including rival Helo, citing privacy and national security concerns. Between June 19 and June 28, the app was downloaded by 1,400,000 smartphone users. In the next 10-day period, ShareChat was downloaded by 5,000,000 smartphone users, an increase of 257 per cent.
Other local short-form video apps such as Chingari and Mitron have also benefited. Chingari and Mitron downloads increased by 54 per cent and 19 per cent between June 29 and July 8, according to data from app analytics company Sensor Tower.
For millions of Indians, especially teens from the country’s interiors, TikTok was not only a source of entertainment but also a ticket to fame. But on June 29, TikTok, the app, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, went off the radar after the government banned it along with 58 other Chinese-origin apps considered a “threat to national sovereignty”. The move came as a reaction to the border clash between the two countries earlier last month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
While Beijing and New Delhi agreed this week to mutually pull back troops, that hasn’t changed India’s decision to ban the apps. If the ban on TikTok and Helo continues, ByteDance may lose up to $6 billion, according to reports in Chinese state-controlled media.
Over the past few months, TikTok has enjoyed massive popularity internationally, including India. The popular app lets users create, share and view short-form videos that are typically 15 to 60 seconds. TikTok is seen as a cultural phenomenon in India, where the app has been downloaded over 658 million times in India out of 2.3 billion installs worldwide.
“Following the ban of 59 apps, there is a gap in the market that apps like Roposo and Mitron are beginning to fill,” said Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA at Sensor Tower. “It will be a big challenge for any app to mimic TikTok’s success in India, but the early signs are that at the very least, these apps are generating significant audiences for themselves.”
As Chapple pointed out, it’s not going to be easy for any platform to replace the success of TikTok but it does open immense growth opportunities for local developers. With anti-China sentiments at an all-time high, the ban also presents immense opportunities for Facebook, Google, and Snapchat to consider short-form mobile videos as a billion-dollar business opportunity. In fact, Facebook-owned Instagram released Reels, its short video feature, in India last week.
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