Indian apps such as ShareChat log strong growth after Chinese app ban
New Delhi, July 02: Homegrown apps like ShareChat, Roposo, Chingari and GoSocial have seen a significant increase in downloads and user signups on their platforms after the government's decision to ban 59 apps.
Most of the banned apps had Chinese links and the move, announced by the Information Technology Ministry on Monday evening, came against the backdrop of border standoff between India and China.
ShareChat, India's largest regional language social media platform, said it has witnessed an "exponential growth" in the last two days.
The platform claimed to have seen 5 lakh downloads on an hourly basis and over 15 million downloads since the ban was announced on Monday evening.
"We are excited to see the way people are exploring ShareChat for the endless possibilities it offers to the people and making it the preferred Indian social media platform... enabling us to emerge as the leader in the Indian social media landscape. We are confident that this sets up the foundation of another success for ShareChat," ShareChat COO and co-founder Farid Ahsan told PTI.
The company said it has already seen more than one lakh posts supporting the government move towards banning Chinese applications. The posts were liked by over one million users, with over half a million shares on WhatsApp, it added.
ShareChat has over 150 million registered users and 60 million monthly active users across 15 Indian languages. Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra-backed Hapramp said its social networking solution GoSocial has seen a surge of 20 per cent in its user base in the last few days. It now has over 80,000 users. Shubhendra Vikram, Founder and CEO of Hapramp, said while there has been a surge in downloads of Indian apps, this could be temporary.
"It's time for founders to get back to their planning boards and chalk out a plan for a strong technology infrastructure which ensures user needs for a seamless experience and secure online presence are met in the long term," he added.
Social media app Trell claimed that traffic on its platform has increased more than 500 per cent in just 24 hours after the ban. "We have had over 1.5 million downloads and counting. Users are truly appreciative of the platform and are engaging with the community actively.
They are even encouraging fellow Indians to join them and promote our home-grown app," Trell Co-Founder Pulkit Agrawal said.
Similarly, digital audio platform Khabri, post the ban, has been seeing 80 per cent surge in daily downloads, taking the number to 18,000-24,000 downloads everyday (from 10,000-15,000 a day previously), Khabri co-founder and President Sandeep Singh claimed. Chingari -- which is being touted as a rival to TikTok -- has seen manifold growth in usage in the past few weeks. It has crossed more than 2.5 million downloads from 5,50,000 downloads in about 10 days.
Sumit Ghosh, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Chinagri app said the step taken by the government was good and welcomed TikTok users to come and try its app saying it is "100 per cent India grown app, and made for the passionate Indians".
Roposo -- which describes itself as a 'Made in India' short video app with over 65 million downloads -- said many TikTok users, including influencers have moved to its platform following the ban. Influencers who have switched to Roposo include Prem Vats and Noor Afshan who had fan followings of 9.5 million and 9 million, respectively on TikTok, it noted.
InMobi Group-led Roposo is available in 12 Indian languages and has more than 14 million video creators and 80 million videos are created monthly, it added. "Our mission is to provide Indians with the largest talent platform that is truly Indian.
We have built Roposo as a clean and ethical platform," Roposo co-founder Mayank Bhangadia said. TikTok, a short video sharing app by Chinese firm ByteDance which had 200 million users in India, was among the 59 apps that have been blocked.
A day after TikTok was pulled off from app stores, ByteDance COO and TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer sent a message to employees talking about the "unfortunate challenge" and said the company remains committed to supporting the welfare of its TikTok creator community "till this interim order is in effect".
He also sought to assure its over 2,000-people workforce that the company will "do everything in our power to restore the positive experiences and opportunities that they can be proud of". Mayer noted that the company is working with stakeholders to address their concerns.
Boxengage.com, which was launched during the lockdown, claimed it has seen a "10X" surge in active-user mark to over one lakh within 24 hours of the ban.
The platform allows video sharing and offers digital experiences and services. In order to address privacy concerns, Boxengage.com is currently operating a website only, and would shortly launch its mobile app. Naveen Mishra, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said with the ban on TikTok, 200 million Indian consumers are evaluating alternatives.
"This ban creates immediate opportunities for Indian developers to create a similar robust platform.
There are a bunch of early stage similar Indian products, which will be aggressively tested by Indian consumers now. Accelerated product evolution based on local customer feedback is key to be successful in this new scenario," he said.
Industry executives believe the government's move to ban these Chinese apps presents an opportunity for homegrown companies to woo millions of young users and brands onto their platforms.
This would also provide developers of these apps the unique opportunity to mirror the success that global tech giants have enjoyed in India over the past few years, they said.