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TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED

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Indian video-sharing apps surge in popularity on TikTok ban

07/03/2020 | 08:28am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A 3d printed Tik Tok logo is seen in front of a displayed Indian flag and a

By Sankalp Phartiyal

Indian tech and entertainment firms are looking to capitalise on sudden opportunities arising from a government ban on Chinese owned apps, including the wildly popular TikTok, with one rival video app saying it had added 22 million users in 48 hours.

India this week outlawed 59 Chinese-owned apps including TikTok and Tencent's WeChat, in what was described as a "digital strike" against China by the country's technology minister.

The move followed a confrontation between India and China at a disputed Himalayan border site, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

With 200 million Indians users, TikTok, which features a simple user interface, background music options and various special effects, was a burgeoning force in the nation's social media scene and the ban left its fans scrambling for options.

Roposo, an Indian video-sharing social media app similar to TikTok that been around since 2014, saw its user base jump by 22 million in the two days after India banned the Chinese apps, the company's founder Mayank Bhangadia told Reuters.

"In the last few days I've slept for a total of five hours, and its the same for our entire team," Bhangadia said. "The load is so much and we're just ensuring that the experience is as smooth as possible."

Roposo's downloads on Google's Android now total over 80 million, and Bhangadia expects that to reach 100 million in just a few days. Before the ban, Roposo had roughly 50 million installs on Android devices, which account for a bulk of India's nearly 500 million smartphones.

Based in the southern Indian tech hub of Bengaluru, the company has just 200 staff now but is planning to hire as many as 10,000 people over the next two years and may take the app global, Bhangadia said.

Other home-grown TikTok alternatives such as Chingari and Mitron are also finding favour with users, with many taking to social media to echo Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for "atma-nirbhar" or self-reliant India.

MyGov, the federal government's citizen engagement website, last month created its account on Roposo.

"We have to create our own ecosystem, every country has done this, this is our atma-nirbhar programme," said a government minister.

New players are also jumping into the fray. Mumbai-based Zee Entertainment Enterprises is set to launch an ad-supported, short-video platform, named HiPi, in the next two months, Rajneel Kumar, the product head for its digital unit Zee5 said.

He hoped that former TikTok users would "find a home within Hipi to be able to continue to enjoy the content they enjoyed."

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Additional reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


ę Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FACEBOOK INC -2.04% 329.66 Delayed Quote.20.68%
HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD. -1.33% 111.5 End-of-day quote.21.20%
TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.67% 603 End-of-day quote.6.91%
ZEE ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES LIMITED -0.80% 221.95 Delayed Quote.-0.69%
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Sales 2021 591 B 91 632 M 91 632 M
Net income 2021 150 B 23 187 M 23 187 M
Net cash 2021 116 B 17 996 M 17 996 M
P/E ratio 2021 32,5x
Yield 2021 0,32%
Capitalization 4 768 B 739 B 739 B
EV / Sales 2021 7,87x
EV / Sales 2022 6,40x
Nbr of Employees 89 228
Free-Float 62,4%
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Last Close Price 501,23 CNY
Spread / Highest target 55,3%
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Hua Teng Ma Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Chi Ping Lau President & Executive Director
Shek Hon Lo Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Chen Ye Xu Chief Information Officer
Yu Xin Ren COO & President-Interactive Entertainment Group
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