India has become the world’s fastest-growing mobile application market over the past few years. With more than 1.3 billion potential consumers, the Indian app market is attracting lots of attention as a huge opportunity for app growth. Thus, Chinese apps such as TikTok, Helo, LIVE, UC Browser, backed by China’s tech giants, have managed to gain popularity in India.
Top Chinese apps in Indian market of 2018 & 2017
According to Factordaily, in December 2017, there were only 18 Chinese mobile apps listed in the top 100 mobile apps on Google Playstore, while the number had surged to 44 by the end of 2018.
Most popular Chinese apps among top 100 in India
A wide range of Chinese apps have grown in popularity in India over the past year.
Social content platforms: Helo and SHAREit;
Entertainment and engagement apps: TikTok, LIKE, and Kwai;
Web browser: UCBrowser/UCBrowser Mini
Video and live streaming ones: LiveMe, Bigo Live, and Vigo Video;
Utility apps: BeautyPlus, Xender and Cam Scanner;
Gaming apps: PUBG, Clash of Kings, Mobile Legends;
E-commerce apps: ClubFactory, SHEIN, and ROMWE.
Helo – Bytedance’s social app catered to Indian users
Helo, a social networking app launched by China’s Bytedance in June 2018, is now among the leading Indian social platforms with more than 40,000,000 users. The Helo app is a successful Chinese version of India’s local app Sharechat, covering varied topics such as showbiz, entertainment, politics, parenting and farming.
Helo enables multiple Indian languages including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Odia, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Rajasthani and Haryanavi, which allows users all over the country to connect with friends and family in their native language with great ease.
TikTok, Kwai and LIKE – Popular short video apps in India
China’s most popular short video apps TikTok and Kuaishou (known as Kwai overseas) are now prevailing in India. The two apps along with another popular app LIKE have been downloaded by millions of smartphone users in tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India who are using them to share personal videos.
It’s reported that 39 percent of TikTok global users are from India, mostly between the ages of 16 to 24. Last year, TikTok users increased significantly in India, with over 32 million app downloads. LIKE was the third-most downloaded app in India in 2018, counting 64 percent of its users as Indian.
UC Browser – A popular mobile browser
UC Browser is a web browser developed by Chinese mobile internet company UCWeb, which is owned by Alibaba Group. In early 2018, UC browser’s MAU exceeded 170 million and even beat Google Chrome, thus winning the battle of mobile users in India and Indonesia. But Chrome soon caught up, and as the smartphone market in India is booming, things change fast and Chrome is now back on top.
However, UC browser is still popular and used by all kinds of India’s mobiles. A lot of people in India don’t have access to WiFi and cellular data is relatively expensive and slow. UC Browser can compress data, speed up navigation and help users save a lot of cellular data traffic. With UC browser’s video grabbing function, they can download videos from social networks instead of streaming them every time.
42 “Banned” Chinese Apps in India
The fast-growing popularity of Chinese apps in India has alarmed the Indian government. In February 2019, some Indian politicians claimed that TikTok should be banned or more tightly regulated, after concerns emerged about sexually explicit content and cyberbullying. The authorities have come up with a draft regulation for the popular social apps like TikTok, Helo and Vigo Video, in order to moderate the content on these platforms.
In November 2017, the Indian Defense Ministry picked out 42 Chinese mobile apps as dangerous, including Weibo, WeChat, SHAREit, TrueCaller, UC Browser and Mi Store, seeing them as a threat to national security.
Featured photo credit to Entrackr