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Jan 28 2021
According to a local Indian media report in the Global Times, it was mentioned in a press release issued by the Indian government that the Indian Ministry of Electronic Information Technology announced that 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and Weibo, will be banned locally in India. What about the Indian mobile marketing then? Does this means that new opportunities for local Indian internet industry? What about the trends in Indian mobile marketing?
59 Chinese apps be banned in Indian mobile marketing due to "security concerns", which about engaging in activities that are detrimental to public order. The categories and fields are all high-tech industries. And India has its own aspirations and development in these industries.
Among these banned applications, TikTok, the foreign version of Jitterbug, has received the most attention from foreign users. According to the data given by the mobile application data company, India is the largest single overseas market for TikTok. As of April this year, the cumulative downloads of TikTok in India reached 611 million this year, accounting for about 30.3% of the world.
TikTok currently has 200 million users in India. Not long ago, TikTok surpassed Facebook in terms of downloads in the Indian region, and Indian media made a big deal of it, declaring that it has become a strong competitor to Facebook, which has been deeply engaged in India for a decade.
In addition, Helo, a dialect short-video platform owned by ByteDance, already has 40 million users, and Vigo Video, a short-video social platform, has 20 million monthly users.
Helena Lersch also said that ByteDance is ready for the tightening of government policies and will continue to deepen its presence in India, targeting the 200 million to 400 million first-time Internet users in the country.
Various products of ByteDance in India are growing at a rapid pace. The Internet company, valued at $75 billion, was previously reported to be launching its own music service app in India to compete with Spotify, Amazon and others in the crowded circuit. Helena Lersch, head of global policy at ByteBeat, was silent on future plans for the Indian market, stressing only ByteBeat's commitment to it.
This data also shows how much Indian netizens like the app, so much so that after the news of the ban, some domestic Weibo commented, "India will have to climb over the wall to get on TikTok", and some foreign netizens tweeted that the Indian side also has its own official TikTok account.
On the other hand, India has in recent years strongly promoted "Made in India", and after the outbreak of the new epidemic this year, it was refined into a new action slogan of "Self-Reliant India", with the aim of boosting India's manufacturing industry. The recent ban on 59 apps is not an impromptu response, but a timely launch in the current wave of boycotting Chinese goods across India.
Some of the apps, such as TikTok, ShareIt, and UC Browser, were extremely popular in India. While TikTok wasn’t exactly suitable for enterprise use, some of the other banned apps were, and now that they are no longer available, Indians are on the lookout for alternatives.
In addition to this, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) published a list of more than 500 Chinese products to be boycotted and said they aim to reduce Chinese imports by $13 billion by December 2021.
India banned mobile applications, a move to both divert the current inherent contradictions in the country and to restrict Chinese companies from developing and investing in India, with the intention of protecting their own companies and thinking about Make in India.
The Chinese government has always required Chinese enterprises to conduct foreign cooperation on the basis of compliance with international rules and local laws and regulations. The Indian government has the responsibility to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of international investors, including Chinese enterprises, in accordance with market principles. The essence of China-India economic and trade cooperation is mutual benefit and win-win situation. The Indian side should immediately correct this discriminatory practice to avoid bringing more harm to the cooperation between the two sides.
Popular e-commerce apps like Shein and Club Factory, too are included in the list. These companies have a prominent share in the fashion ecommerce space in India, but have attracted plenty of controversy over the past year for allegedly importing orders into the country as gifts and avoiding customs duties.
Even before the ban, the downloads of several Chinese apps had started falling since the start of June, once the faceoff between the forces escalated. And now that an official ban has been announced on these apps, users are quickly adopting many of the Indian alternatives.
And now with the attention on Indian apps, even VCs and investors -- including Balaji S. Srinivasan and Prayank Swaroop -- are coming together in an effort to back competitive alternative apps for the Indian market, willing to fund the right app ideas.
It must also be noted that India is a huge market in the overall global app economy. App store research firm AppFlyer’s State of App Marketing In India report in December 2019 pointed out that almost 41% of the top 200 applications downloaded in 2019 were Indian. Meanwhile, Chinese apps made up 38% of the list. Last year, Indian apps too were at 38%.
In total, Indians downloaded close to 6.5 Bn applications between the second quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019. The report also highlighted at least 3.3 K apps had over 1K monthly non-organic users. The data sample also includes 7.8 Bn apps that were opened in the same time frame, along with 1.5 billion retargeting conversions.
The report highlighted that in 2019 the food and drink were the most popular domestic apps followed by shopping and travel. Will this big headstart combined with the larger call for ‘Vocal for Local’ and the ban on Chinese apps, can India’s app economy take over from China?
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