On the 29th of June, the Government of India announced an immediate ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese Applications in the wake of the standoff with China in Ladakh. This precipitated a flood of Indian content creators looking for an alternative platform to showcase their talents.
With a user base extending into the hundreds of millions, of which TikTok alone commands a hefty 100 million, Chinese applications like Likee, Bigo, Helo, Likee and TikTok left behind a vacuum of content creators looking for a platform.
Watch: With TikTok gone, search for the new crown jewel of content platforms in India begins.
Rise of the Indian content platforms
Sumit Ghosh, the Co-founder of online video creation application Chingari, reflected on the rapidly changing dynamic. “On 30 June we started experiencing issues like slow load time due to heavy traffic. We had to shut down some slow queries and optimise it at the application level. We have been working 24×7 with AWS (Amazon Web Server) team to scale and keep the load under control and the application stable”.
With a whopping 1 lakh downloads an hour, Chingari added 2 million users over two days and went from about 25 lakh downloads pre-ban to 1 crore in just 5 days.
This surprise ban on Tiktok, and related applications, steered Indian Video stars towards local platforms like Roposo, Sharechat, Mitron TV and Chingari. As a prime example, Roposo, an app, saw traffic of 7 lakh users per day. After the ban, it suddenly started to get 6 lakh downloads per hour and got the total tally to a mind-blowing 7.5 Crore within days. In a similar story to Chingari, Mitron TV reported getting four crore video views an hour.
A Quest to build Efficient Applications
With subscriber numbers growing continuously for these applications, the providers face a new challenge in making their platforms more stable in addition to handling an enhanced load on the servers. As an industry expert, Prasanto K Roy states, the Indian applications haven’t been up to the standard, though there are exceptions as usual. The problem with Indian apps, in Roy’s estimation, is that they focus more on features rather than enabling simplicity and speed in the application. There is a need for these applications to enhance their efficiency.
The problem with Indian apps is that they focus more on features rather than enabling simplicity and speed in the application.
Shivank Aggarwal, the CEO of Mitron TV, discussed the necessary adaptations. “We found that video compression in our app wasn’t great. We worked on it, now users can compress the video files a lot more without compromising on the quality. Which not only reduced upload time but also the data consumption for users”.
A Not so Impressive User Interface
Besides these problems, Indian Application makers face the issue of below standard UI designs, which seem to entertain the influencers in the particular field. There is an urgent need to enhance the user experience, as these influencers have already started looking towards more user-friendly platforms like Instagram. Additionally, Instagram lining up the launch of its Tiktok clone, Reel, poses another challenge for Indian Application makers.
The Privacy Headache
The concern about privacy is a well-documented problem in the Social Media world, with big corporations like Facebook and Google contending with these issues constantly. It is a challenge for Indian Developers to satisfy the privacy concerns of an ever-increasing user base. Safety and privacy are areas where Indian Developers do not want to falter. To address those concerns, some established Indian Apps like Chirangi are going a step further and collaborating directly with Database providers like AWS.
There is Hope, Though Challenges Remain
Even though the application ban is a welcome move, as far as Indian Application development is concerned, some grave challenges remain. Bridging the gap between the user experience of big players and one of the Indian Apps remains a key impediment to the success of Indian developers. Though it is still a long road ahead, these applications are poised to bridge the technology gap. There are innumerable challenges, but hope remains high for Indian replacements like Chingari and Mitron TV.