Home >Technology >News >Indian video apps see boom overnight after Chinese app ban

NEW DELHI: In less than 24 hours of the government's ban on Chinese apps such as TikTok, Helo and Vigo Video, Indian short-video users have already started exploring other home-grown platforms such as Roposo and Chingari.

The three Bytedance-owned apps have approximately 300 million users between them, and these users may have started exploring other avenues for entertainment.

Indian video-sharing platform Roposo’s total download counts stood at 65 million before the ban, and edged closer to 100 million, with an average of 6 lakh new users joining every hour. Mayank Bhangadia, co-founder of Roposo said on Tuesday that the app has seen as many as 10 million downloads in the past 12 hours.

“Our mission is to provide Indians with the largest talent platform that is truly Indian," said Bhangadia. “We have built Roposo as a clean and ethical platform. The unique idea of channels in Roposo provides every talented Indian with an opportunity to grow rapidly."

Another homegrown app, Chingari, claimed that it has crossed a total of 3.5 million lifetime downloads and is seeing 80,000 new downloads per hour right now. Sumit Ghosh, co-founder and chief product officer of Chingari said that users are watching 221,000 videos every 30 minutes on the platform.

For Indian apps, which have been riding on the anti-China sentiment for a while, this also offers a chance to cash in on the opportunity after 59 Chinese apps were banned by the government over national security concerns.

“Tiktok ban creates the biggest white space and companies like Roposo are well-equipped to cash on... I think hundreds of new apps like Khabri, Mitron, Chingari, etc will also get a boost. Hopefully a few new Indian unicorns will emerge out of this chaos," says Rajesh Sawhney, founder, GSF Accelerator.

While Roposo and Chingari are the better-known players in the video space, there are others who have seen an unreal surge after the ban. A less-known app, Trell, claims it has seen a million new installs since the ban on Monday night.

Trell’s Google Play page though said it has 1 million plus downloads right now, meaning the app will be getting installs from other sources too. It is listed on Samsung’s Galaxy Store and Xiaomi’s Mi Store as well, though the company didn’t share a breakup of where its downloads were coming from at the time of writing.

“We welcome all the Tiktok and Chinese Apps content creators with open arms to come and engage on Trell which is 100% Indian App. As the largest Indian Lifestyle Social App we will continue to ensure that the privacy and data of users will be protected and will remain within the boundaries of our nation," said Pulkit Agarwal, co-founder, Trell.

Similarly, an app called Bolo Indya, which lets users create short videos saw over 100,000 new downloads in the last 12 hours. The app gets downloads from the native app stores on Oppo and Vivo smartphones alongside Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO, InMobi Group, which owns Roposo said, “This is the digital aatmanirbhar moment that most Indians have been rooting for. As the number one short video app on the Google Play Store, Roposo is very well-positioned to lead this transformation in India."

Indian regional social media company, ShareChat, also expects a higher adoption from users since the ban includes Helo, an app owned by Chinese Bytedance, which is a direct competitor and had amassed 50 million monthly active users by June, last year.

Some Indian entrepreneurs feel that banning Chinese apps is only a part of the solution. “The government should also consider the control Chinese investors have in Indian companies, which from the perspective of data privacy/security will remain a leaky bucket for Indian customer data draining to China," said Sandeep Singh, co-founder and president, Khabri, a digital audio platform. He added that the ban can be hugely beneficial for Indian companies considering the potential Indian startups have in terms of creating own Tiktok, WeChat and Baidu.

Gurugram-based payments and financial services company, MobiKwik is gearing up to do a brand marketing push across its social media and electronic channels to highlight its Indian roots. Currently, founders of MobiKwik and employees command a 52% stake in the company, and count the likes of Bajaj Finance, Sequoia Capital, American Express and Net1 as other investors.

“This move on the Chinese ban should have been done long ago. With India being a complete open market, a lot of Indian data gets collected, on which India has no jurisdiction. Hence, we need to develop our own ecosystem on apps and this is a good step in that direction, since Chinese apps are replaceable," said Bipin Preet Singh, co-founder of MobiKwik.

(Tarush Bhalla and Abhijit Ahaskar contributed to this story)

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