Millions switch to homegrown apps after India’s TikTok ban

ShareChat, Roposo benefit from government’s Chinese app ban

TikTok icon 

TikTok icon  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Millions of Indians have migrated over to local social media platforms after the government banned 59 Chinese apps — including TikTok — amid growing tensions between India and China after a deadly border clash last month.

The banned apps include video-sharing app TikTok, Helo, and Likee, with authorities accusing them of activities “prejudicial” to the “sovereignty and integrity of India,” according to AFP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw his support behind the campaign by deleting his account on China’s Weibo platform on Wednesday (July 1).

There were an estimated 120 million Indian TikTok users before the ban, AFP reported. Homegrown apps like ShareChat and Roposo say they experienced big surges in new users after the ban went into effect on Monday (June 29).

ShareChat logged 15 million new downloads in the first 48 hours after the ban, according to a company statement. It now has at least 150 million registered users, the company said.

“We welcome the move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber-security, and national security risks,” said Berges Malu, public policy director for ShareChat, talking to AFP. “We believe this will help create a level playing field,” Malu added.

Meanwhile, video app Roposo said around 10 million users have joined the service, bringing its subscriber base up to 75 million, Naveen Tewari, chief executive of owners InMobi, told AFP. Tewari said the ban would give Indian platforms the chance to become the world’s fourth major tech hub behind the U.S., Russia, and China.

Analysts say keeping the new users will be the main challenge for the Indian platforms, which will now have to invest in staff and content to keep audiences, AFP reported.