Of India’s top 100 apps, 44 are Chinese

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on April 16, 2019

Brands leverage them to reach tier 2, 3 cities

The proliferation of Chinese social media apps in India, and the associated debate around privacy, have raised concerns. Marketing officials, however, maintain that most of the social media apps from China are self-regulatory. Since many cater to tier 2 and 3 cities in India, brands are out to monetise them.

BusinessLine spoke to Rubeena Singh, CEO of iProspect India, a digital marketing agency from the Dentsu Aegis Network, on the reasons behind the immense popularity and growth of Chinese apps in India.

Giant market

“For Chinese companies, the Indian market is the only market, globally, that can offer the size they want. It is natural that leading Chinese apps will be interested in making a strong play in India. In fact, out of the top 100 apps in the country, 44 are Chinese,” Singh said.

Pointing out that the Chinese players have also been able to give Indian consumers “products that resonate with their needs and aspirations”, she said: “The combination of experience, resources and right products is making them successful in India.”

There are multiple monetisation opportunities in the space of display (comprising videos, banners, native ads), content and commerce for these apps based on the genres, observed Singh.

“There are entertainment apps like TikTok and Bytedance, news apps like UC News, shopping apps like Clubfactory and Shein, and browsers like UC browser and shareit. Given the category of the app, the most appropriate format and avenues could be used for monetisation,” she added.

Since a large number of users of these apps are from tier 2 and 3 cities, which many brands are now interested in reaching, “it gives new opportunities to monetise these audiences”, said Singh.

Regulatory challenge

As for inappropriate content on some of these apps, she said, “The Indian Information Technology Act has a fair number of teeth from a policy and regulation point of view. However, implementation of the same becomes a challenge given the myriad and complicated terrain of the internet. This problem confronts the government of all countries and India is no exception.”

Published on April 16, 2019

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