After the June 15 LAC border clash, anti-Chinese sentiment prevailed in India. Adding to this, on June 29, the Indian government released a notification on banning 59 Chinese apps in the country citing security reasons. Within the next 48 hours, Indian origin apps saw a huge spike in their downloads and launched Made in India apps.
Chinese social media app TikTok has lost half of its unique users to Indian alternatives such as Mitron, Chingari, Roposo, Sharechat, etc. However, user engagement among the newly downloaded Indian apps is yet to increase compared to TikTok, according to data by research firm KalaGato.
Homegrown apps such as Roposo and Sharechat witnessed the highest downloads. According to data by analytics platform Sensor Tower, Sharechat application downloads between June 29 to July 8, increased by 257 percent, while Roposo application downloads between the same period increased by 82 percent.
Roposo is an existing short-form video application that witnessed 49,00,000 downloads on smartphones between June 19 and June 28. However, after the ban of Chinese apps, between June 29 to July 9, app downloads spiked by 89,00,000.
ShareChat also witnessed a huge number of downloads. Between June 19 and June 29, the app was downloaded by 14,00,000 smartphone users. The number of downloads rose by 50,00,000.
Chingari and Mitron, short-video applications, also witnessed huge downloads after the ban but stood behind Roposo and Sharechat.
TikTok crossed two billion app downloads. In India it generated 611 million lifetime downloads. On the day of the ban, TikTok’s unique user base stood at 32.2 percent which later fell to 10.5 percent by July 1, according to KalaGato’s data. After the ban was implemented at full scale, TikTok’s user base panned out completely.
In May, TikTok’s unique user base was more than 40 percent among all short-video applications available then. The time spent by users on the app over a period of 24 hours hovered between 45 and 50 minutes. TikTok’s app open rate (the number of times an app opened in a day) varied between 9 to 12 times before the ban.
However, the ban wiped out 200 million of TikTok’s strongest user base in India overnight. Indian alternatives such as Chingari had a little over 4 percent of the unique users among the apps mentioned, while the Mitron app had a 3 percent share of unique users.
Homegrown apps are yet to catch up with the open rate, with TikTok. Chingari stood at 4.4 times as of July 4. However, Sharechat and Roposo had a good open rate of 8.7 and 6 respectively.
Sharechat recorded the highest daily session time of 22.1 minutes per user, while Roposo stood at 14.5 minutes per user. Chingari recorded a user session time of 5.3 minutes and witnessed a session time of 7.7 minutes per user.
KalaGato’s data suggests that users who shifted from TikTok to other alternatives are yet to catch up with user engagement. The app’s user base is still loyal and may shift once the ban is lifted.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information has sent a notice and a list of 79 questions to all banned applications. The Indian government has asked the organisations to reply before July 22, failing which, the ban will become permanent. The replies from the app companies will be sent to a special committee.
TikTok recently published a transparent report in which the company said it has removed 16 million videos uploaded by Indian users in the last six months for violating content policies. The report also says that the company received 302 requests from India and that the platform acted on 90 percent of the requests.