New Delhi: Tensions between two of the world’s largest nations, India and China, seem to have taken a new dimension. Although it all started with differences in Border claims, India took the feud digital. On the June 29 this year, Indian government announced a nationwide ban on 59 Chinese apps for what they termed security concerns, with more set to follow. Some of these apps banned from use in India include; SHAREit, TikTok, UC Browser, Shein, and many more.
This ban has created a window of opportunity for Indian based app developers to take over. A good number of the Chinese apps affected by this ban are among the top most downloaded apps on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Some of these apps are among the top 50 apps featured on Play Store with a huge chunk of their downloads coming from India. With these apps now banned in India, millions of users are searching for alternatives that will offer just as much value as those banned by the government.
India has a huge market with more than a billion people in population. Luckily, many of these banned apps have Indian based replacement and although the replacements may not be as popular or may not have as many users, they offer similar functionality as those shown the door. Several Indian developers have built replacement or alternatives to these banned apps. Most of these alternatives include file sharing apps, apps for data management, apps for phone cache clearing, photo scanning apps and many more. Some examples of these Indian apps include; Kaagaz scanner, Share India, Bharat Scanner, and ShareKaro.
Developers all around India are tweaking their apps to give users a more “Made in India” idea and are seizing the opportunity the ban has presented. For example; app developer Kundan Singh has made necessary adjustments to his flagship app Paper Scanner to ensure it is ready for the Indian market. By incorporating elements like adding a flag to the logo and marketing it as an Indian product, Singh has been able to boost his app’s popularity to 4000 downloads daily.
Also, local developers at the Innovana Tech Labs, a tech firm in Jaipur launched Indian App finder on Google Play Store after the ban was in full effect to provide Indians with a more domestic alternative to the banned Chinese apps. The idea is to help Indians filter through apps available out there and help them find Indian apps for downloads. So far, more than 500 Indian apps can be found in their database.
However, there are other pre existing apps that have gained a little popularity in the tech world prior to the ban and could serve as alternatives to the banned apps. Let’s take TikTok for instance. Arguably, TikTok is a popular trend among teens in India and the world over, and for a good reason. TikTok has been able to rake in over 600 million downloads and has over 200 million monthly active users. With the ban, more Indians can now turn to Roposo, which has over 57 million downloads, with over 25 million active users, monthly. Roposo is slowly gaining more popularity with the number of downloads skyrocketing since June.
Other TikTok alternatives include; Chingari and Mitron which have also gained more users since the ban. Often used to send and receive files, SHAREit slowly gained popularity in the Indian tech community. With over 1.2 billion downloads worldwide and over 400 million downloads from Indians alone, SHAREit definitely earned its spot as one of the most popular apps for file sharing. But these 400 million users can now migrate to Jio Share and many others just like it. Jio Share is an Indian based app used to send and receive files and, although, prior to the ban it wasn’t widely used, Jio Share has seen a spike in their downloads since the ban on Chinese apps.
To many in the tech world, this ban was a good development as it once and for all, got rid of many Chinese apps. Chinese e-commerce apps like Shein, which for a long time have been rumoured to cut corners when it came to importing orders into India, masking it as gift importation to avoid custom bills already have had a significant decrease in the rate of downloads all through 2019 than it did in 2018.
Statistically, India alone has witnessed close to 6.5 billion application downloads between mid 2018 to late 2019. With India being a major market for app companies all over the world, several Chinese app owners have seen a drastic decline in their app downloads among Indians ever since the ban took effect. Indian investors are now showing interest in investing domestically. With several indigenous investors like Prayank Swaroop – partner at Accel – who have made several public interests to invest in Indian based apps, these alternatives are about to go mainstream.