Business News/ Technology / News/  Snack Video ban to aid local app firms

Indian short-video apps will get another shot at courting TikTok users after the government banned China’s Snack Video, which swiftly filled the void left by the ban on the ByteDance-owned video-sharing app on 29 June.

Snack Video, one of the 43 Chinese apps banned on Tuesday, is owned by Beijing Kuaishou Technology Ltd. The app has been leading the charts in terms of downloads for over 15 weeks in India, two industry executives said on condition of anonymity.

The app was downloaded 10 million times in the 21 days since the ban on TikTok was announced, according to data from Sensor Tower from July. This was approximately 59 times the 172,000 downloads the app saw between 8 June and 29 June, the app analytics firm said in a blog post. Snack Video had a total of 43 million downloads worldwide in October, the data showed.

The ban on Snack Video, which competes with Indian rivals such as Moj, Josh and MX TakaTak, comes after policy think tank Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research wrote to the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and the ministry of home affairs last month to press for a ban on the Chinese app.

The think tank argued that Snack Video and Kwai were the same apps and that Kuaishou was using Snack Video to circumvent the government’s ban. Kwai was included in the first list of banned Chinese apps, along with TikTok.

A person close to the company said that Snack Video and Kwai are different apps, with Kwai meant for the Chinese market. However, unlike TikTok, which runs a separate China-only app called Douyin, Kwai was offered in other countries too.

The government has banned over 200 Chinese apps so far, including Helo, Bigo Live and Vigo Video. This has benefited Indian firms, including ShareChat, which launched its own short-video app called Moj after the ban. Moj had amassed over 80 million monthly active users (MAUs) in September, while DailyHunt-owned Josh had 50 million MAUs. Snack Video, on the other hand, had grown to 100 million MAUs, according to reports, since the ban on TikTok in India.

Prasid Banerjee
An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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Updated: 26 Nov 2020, 06:26 AM IST
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