More than a month after the ban on 59 popular Chinese apps by the Indian government, alternative apps record a considerable user base. Various app makers are trying to fill the vacuum created by banned Chinese apps like TikTok. Now, these apps are looking to monetise their platforms with brand campaigns and advertisements in order to establish themselves in the market.

TikTok has a user base of over 600 million in India. All these users who used to the short-form video made by creators on Tik-Tok started looking for similar apps. Additionally, the rise of anti-China sentiment pushed users towards ‘made in India’ short-form video-based apps.

Post-ban, Indian-made alternatives witnessed a huge spike in their downloads. Bolo Indya, an Indian short videos app, currently has over 10,00,000+ downloads on the play store. Mitron, an Indian alternative of TikTok first faced controversy, now the app has over 1 crore downloads on the store.

Among the alternatives, Roposo and Chingari were most talked about during the initial days after the ban. ‘Propose’ garnered over 7 crore app downloads after the ban. Meanwhile, Chingari received a positive response after PM Modi launched the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative. The app has over 1 crore downloads on the Google Play Store.

Later on, other apps launched in the market seem to take over the earlier launched alternatives. These apps are launched by existing Internet companies such as Mx Play owned TakaTak, Share Chat’s Moj, and DailyHunt’s Josh.

At present, MX TakaTak ranked second in the top free apps chat with app downloads over 1 crore. DailyHunt’s Josh ranked just behind TakaTak in the third position, has been downloaded by over 1 crore users. While Share Chat’s Moj featuring in the top 10 has active downloads over 5 crores.

Mitron and Chingari, which gained huge popularity after the ban, now seem to fall way behind. Chingari is ranked among the top 300 free apps while Mitron is not even ranked among the top 500. Due to the Made in India tag, these apps gained significant attraction after the ban which doesn’t seem to work now.

Roposo, Zilli, and Dubsmash are the biggest gainers since the TikTok ban. Of all the alternatives to TikTok available on the market, these three lead with the most downloads. Roposo has over 7.1 crore downloads, followed by Zili with 5.1 crore downloads and Dubsmash has over 3.04 crore users.

Roposo is not new, unlike many of these apps, the app was used even before the ban. The app’s core idea is similar to TikTok but it’s not an exact clone. Roposo features in the top 30 in the Google Play Store chat. 

Zili is owned by Chinese mobile maker Xiaomi and features in the top 20 in the free chat category. Despite growing anti-Chinese sentiment across the country, the app has seen huge downloads after the app ban. Meanwhile, US-based Dubsmash ranked within 500 apps but established a strong user base in the country.

All these apps are aiming for one single goal, 100-120 million daily active users, in order to establish themselves in the market. Rumours about a possible ‘ban lift’ like earlier on Tiktok are prevailing. Besides, Microsoft plans to buy TikTok’s Indian operations which might revive the app in the Indian market.

New short-form video apps are planning to monetise their platforms with advertisements and brand campaigns. However, most being a clone of TikTok fear investors and Microsoft’s plans are increasing hopes for them to invest back in it as TikTok has no competition when it comes to user engagement.

TikTok Ad Formats

Most of these new apps still stand way behind TikTok if we compare the average time spent by a user on the App. TikTok’s user engagement was over 40 minutes per user. While new alternatives such as Taka Tak had user engagement of 23 minutes, followed by Moj app with around 10 minutes and Josh was just around 7.4 minutes.

Most advertisers believe that there is a possibility to create a better app so users are engaged with it, rather than creating TikTok clones. Some may invest in these apps putting the risk aside. But to establish them as a market for advertisements is nearly impossible.

Twitter held discussions over a deal to purchase TikTok’s US operations, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. These developments hold small investors who were in plans to bet on alternative apps. Additionally, the recent development of TikTok approaching Reliance for investment shows the app is trying to revive its operations.