Tiktok, the short video app which had captured the fancy of rural India and more recently the urban elite, has gone offline in the country, its biggest overseas market.
Meanwhile, there is a renewed enthusiasm among local startup entrepreneurs to build domestic ventures that can step in and fill the void that has come up with the ban on 59 Chinese apps.
TikTok goes offline
Tiktok is no longer accessible in India, a day after the government banned it along with 58 other Chinese apps citing security reasons. This comes after Bytedance voluntarily took down TikTok and Helo from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store earlier on Tuesday.
Complying with govt order
TikTok said that it is in the process of complying with the government’s interim Chinese app ban order and is working with the authorities to “better understand the issue and explore a course of action”. India is the largest international market for the short video app and accounts for a third of its overall Android downloads.
What about other apps?
Apps like UC Browser, Shareit, WeChat, Bigo Live, and Shein which were also banned by the government on late Monday is still functional and available for download on both the stores, likely indicating that Google and Apple are yet to comply with the government order.
ET reported on Tuesday that the order has been sent to all relevant intermediaries, including the app owners, those that facilitate access to the app (App Stores), and internet service providers, and telecom networks.
How did it impact creators?
Hundreds of TikTok creators went live on the short-form video platform late evening on 29th June, urging their audience to follow them on Instagram, leading to a sudden spike of tens of thousands of new followers on their Instagram accounts overnight.
Many creators expressed their sadness while adding that a government decision in the wake of border tension cannot be disputed with. Read our story on how the anxiety of app ban unfolded among its creators in India.
Read our coverage:
Opportunity for local companies
Indian entrepreneurs and venture capital investors are calling the government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps an opportunity to build local companies that can fill a huge gap in the country’s digital landscape
InMobi co-founder Naveen Tewari said that India has an opportunity to build the fourth tech ecosystem apart from the United States, China, and Russia
Backing local ventures
Prominent Silicon Valley-based angel investor Balaji S Srinivasan has teamed up with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant to back Indian versions of the 59 Chinese apps that the government banned on late Monday.
“We certainly may invest, but no promises. We want to see what is out there first. The source of funds will vary depending on the deal,” said Srinivasan in an interview with ET.
Social media and video platforms are ramping up their efforts and making their content policies more stringent to crack down on hate speech as internet companies grapple with handling US President Trump and his supporters
What are they doing?
- Reddit banned over 2,000 communities or subreddits including the popular ones like “r/The_Donald” and “r/ChapoTrapHouse” after tightening its content policies
- Amazon-owned Twitch temporarily suspended president Trump’s channel for posting hate speech videos that violated its rules and removed the offending content.
- YouTube shut down six prominent white supremacist channels for violating its hate speech policies. Read more.
Edtech valuation zoom
While several Indian consumer internet businesses are grappling with the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, education technology companies are seeing unprecedented investor interest due to the increased digitisation of education.
- Vedantu has held talks to close a $100 million financing round, valuing the live online tutoring service at $600 million
- Byju’s has landed funds from Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital at a valuation of $10.5 billion
- Unacademy is in discussions to rack up about $100-$150 million at a $1 billion valuation
- Whitehat Jr has been in talks with Steadview Capital, Tiger Global, among others, to pull in new capital at a valuation of $350 million. Read more.
Temasek may invest more in Zomato
Temasek is in discussions with Zomato to pump in as much as $100 million into the online food delivery major, as part of a larger investment round that the Gurgaon-based company has been negotiating since the end of last year.
Why is this significant?
This development comes at a time when a previously announced investment by Ant Financial has been delayed due to the current anti-China sentiment and new foreign direct investment rules. Last week, early investor Info Edge said that Ant Financial has pumped in only $50 million of the expected $150 million into Zomato.
Ant Financial is currently the largest institutional stakeholder in Zomato, holding a 26% stake in the company. Read more.
(Illustrations and graphics by Rahul Awasthi)