Indian social media platforms look to see an uptick in growth in light of last night’s ban on 59 Chinese apps, as enforced by the government of India. While some claim to be seeing instantaneous growth surges, other platforms are more pragmatic about the approach, while stating that the ban on services like TikTok, Helo and Likee will definitely create ripple effects in the homegrown social media industry of India.
Speaking to News18, Berges Malu, director of public policy at ShareChat states that while the platform is well poised to make the most of the opportunity that has opened up, the growth in terms of new users will be a gradual affair. He says, “It’s not an instant process – anyone that uses an app like TikTok is likely already using other social media platforms too, such as ShareChat itself. Hence, the overall growth of users will likely reflect over the coming weeks, once the network-level bans are imposed on these apps.”
ShareChat presently has over 60 million monthly active users on its platform, making it the largest Indian social media platform. Prior to last night’s ban of these Chinese apps, Farid Ahsan, co-founder and chief operating officer of ShareChat told News18 that the vocal for local narrative has given a slight push towards homegrown services, but ShareChat’s prime focus at the moment remains in seeing the growth of organic user engagement on its platform. With apps like TikTok and Helo being banned from India’s internet, the market may open up for just that.
Mayank Bhangadia, founder of Roposo, has a far more optimistic view of things at the moment. In conversation with News18, Bhangadia says, “I am seeing the highest surge in user traffic that Roposo has seen till date. All things considered, I expect to see up to 10 million new users join Roposo today itself.”
Bhangadia says that the growth is being buoyed by creators who are leaving platforms like ShareChat and Helo to join Roposo, which promotes itself as a creator-first platform. “We built our tool over the past four years, and offer the best revenue scheme for creators to earn through. Our parent company, Glance, lets us reach over 125 million active users daily, and all of this makes Roposo among the best Indian platforms to use.” Bhangadia confirms that Roposo has 25 million monthly active users at the moment on its platform, but expects this to rapidly change in the immediate future.
Chingari, the Indian rival of TikTok that is presently going viral, has also made tall claims about instantaneous growth in light of the ban on 59 Chinese apps. Prior to the ban being announced in public, Biswatma Nayak, co-founder of Chingari, stated in a PTI report that subscriber count has spiked by 400 percent within the past few days in light of the anti-China sentiment. Sumit Ghosh, co-founder and head of product and growth at Chingari, has been posted a stream of numbers on Twitter since last night. He claimed that Chingari received 1 lakh downloads within the first one hour itself. Earlier today, Ghosh further stated that Chingari is witnessing a heavy surge in traffic, with data showing 1 million video views on the platform in 30 minutes.
ShareChat’s Malu states that the ban is going to be more effective in the long run. “Bans like these create a void in the market, where there is a demand for a service. In such a space, there is already an existing user base, which in turn leads to investors getting attracted. This can certainly boost the Indian startup ecosystem in this space, and is something that may see stronger growth of homegrown services than before,” he adds.
Sheroes, India’s women-first social network, also welcomes the move. Priya Florence-Shah, group editor of Sheroes, tells News18 that since the Covid-19 lockdown began, the platform has added 4 million users. In a prior interview with News18, Sairee Chahal, founder and CEO of Sheroes, had confirmed that the platform has over 20 million active users. Echoing positive sentiments for a push for Indian sentiments, Florence-Shah states, “We have the best minds in the world and we can definitely develop solutions that work for us.”
The over-arching sentiment is positive, and the general outlook is that this can be a tipping point for social media and internet startups in India. While platforms like Roposo state that the effect has been immediate and exponential, the likes of ShareChat look forward to a steady growth in the longer run. The effects, as Malu stated, would definitely be clearer once the 59 Chinese apps are banned from operating in India in the coming days.