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Alibaba makes $100 million bet in Indian short video market dominated by ByteDance’s TikTok

FE Online
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Chinese technology conglomerate Alibaba, which had aggressively backed Indian startups including Paytm, Zomato, BigBasket, Snapdeal etc., is looking to leverage India’s, particularly youth, fascination for short-form video content driven by the affordable cost of data and smartphone penetration.

Alibaba is investing $100 million in its video app VMate, launched in 2016, to capture short video or social video apps market in India, TechCrunch reported. India’s over-the-top video streaming market, which is expected to grow to $5-billion mark by 2023 from $500 million in 2018 as per a report by Boston Consulting Group, is currently led by TikTok that is owned by reportedly world’s most valuable startup — China’s ByteDance valued at around $75 billion.

TikTok has 200 million users in India, as per statistics portal Statista that along with VMate competes with other similar apps in India including Vigo, Kwai, Roposo, Like etc.

India is a critical market for Alibaba for short video content, particularly after it couldn’t capture the China market even as other technology giant Tencent had also launched its own short video apps such as Weishi and Hotpot Video.

India was the top country in terms of hours spent on video-streaming apps followed by Brazil and the US. Total time spent on video streaming apps per device will grow by 110 per cent from 2016 to 2019, as App Annie’s State of Mobile 2019.

Alibaba, which offers its cloud services in India as well, sees India as “one of our very important markets. That s why we already have our data centres in the country. We have a dedicated local office and team there to work with our India partners.,” IANS reported citing Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International President Selina Yuan last month.

The company is looking to raise $20 billion through the second listing in Hong Kong by the second half of 2019, Bloomberg reported, as it is aimed at diversifying its funding channels and improve liquidity.