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Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Indian apps firm up tech backbone amid demand surge

  • Many apps have scaled up their cloud back-end to cope with demand
  • Downloads of homegrown social media app Chingari went from 2.5 million to over 10 million on Google Play Store after the ban

Mumbai/New Delhi: Indian apps, which had begun scaling up their cloud back-end to cope with increased usage during the lockdown, are now doubling down on these efforts after millions of new users flocked to homegrown platforms amid rising anti-China sentiments.

Many Indian apps, which started with a small cloud presence, have rapidly matured into full-scale users in a matter of weeks, with most of them spread across Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud.

“The lockdown had already prepared us for a surge in user base but what we saw after some apps were banned was a growth in user base and downloads over six days that we had expected over six months," said Pulkit Agarwal, co-founder, Trell, a platform that offers multi-lingual video content. Trell witnessed 12 million downloads and 300,000 new content creators in a matter of 6 days after the ban.

Agarwal said that content platforms had to not only address the massive shift of creators from the Chinese platforms but also ensure that their content was seamlessly accessible. This required optimised algorithms for ease of access, search and file compression.

“It is important for the content creators to have Indian platforms to turn to when they have lost their base overnight, which is why having a strong technology backbone to support it has been essential," said Agarwal.

Downloads of homegrown social media app Chingari went from 2.5 million to over 10 million on Google Play Store after the ban. This sudden spike had a severe impact on the app’s load time. To ensure the user-experience wasn’t affected, the developers of Chingari shut down some slow queries to optimise it at app level, working 24x7 with the AWS (cloud) team to scale and keep the app stable.

Asif Mohamed, chief technology officer, Momspresso said that the platform had been scaling their cloud presence for the past one year and recently decided to move to a multi-cloud deployment.

“We use both AWS and Google Cloud Platform for our services and our servers are set up to auto-scale. We have seen a consistent peak of server utilisation and new servers being launched automatically since March of this year as the content creation and consumption on our platform has more than doubled," said Mohamed.

Even Mitron, India’s homegrown answer to short-form video app TikTok, which surged to 25 million downloads with almost 87% of the surge coming in June scaled up their back-end infrastructure, hosted on AWS servers in India for better user experience.

Recently, social media platform ShareChat shifted from a multi-cloud presence across AWS and Google Cloud to Google Cloud only, to scale up for the anticipated user growth.

Naveen Mishra, senior director, Gartner, said the push towards local language platforms together with the recent popularity of Indian apps will only increase in the days to come. “Many of these apps are struggling to manage growth which is almost 100-200% more than what they expected."

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