India’s ban on TikTok, imposed in late June, led to the spurt of several homegrown short video sharing apps of similar make. The humungous popularity of the app genre in India, which allows users to lip-sync to popular film dialogues and dance with film songs playing in the background, has helped Indian apps MX TakaTak, Josh and Moj rank on the leaderboard for most downloaded apps worldwide through the Google Play Store.
A report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower for the third quarter (Q3) of 2020 shows Times Internet-owned MX TakaTak — which launched on July 9 in the immediate aftermath of India’s ban on TikTok — own the 12th spot in the rankings for most downloaded apps, worldwide, through the Google Play Store.
The report shows that MX TakaTak garnered around 50 Mn downloads in Q3 2020. The other two popular Indian apps in the segment, Josh and Moj, have also ranked at the 13th and 14th spots respectively, both registering more than 40 Mn downloads each.
India’s ban on TikTok deprived the ByteDance-owned Chinese app, a pioneer of the short video sharing app genre of its largest userbase — TikTok had more than 600 Mn downloads in India and around 120 Mn monthly active users (MAUs). Even so, amid increased scrutiny in India and the US, TikTok has managed to regain the top spot as the most downloaded mobile app worldwide. Although, the impact of the India ban is evident. While TikTok garnered more than 300 Mn downloads each in Q1 and Q2 2020, its worldwide downloads for Q3 were around 180 Mn.
Since June, India has banned more than 250 Chinese mobile applications, including popular ones such as TikTok, UC Browser, Club Factory and PUBG Mobile, which was being distributed by Chinese publisher Tencent Games. The ban on Chinese apps has come as the anti-China sentiment simmers in the country due to a border standoff between the two countries in Ladakh.
However, some Chinese apps seem to have slipped under the radar and escaped the Indian government’s wide-ranging ban on several mobile apps of Chinese origin. The Sensor Tower report shows that such apps have benefited from their continued presence in India.
Short video sharing Snack Video, run from offices in Singapore but owned by Chinese company Kuaishou Technology, is at the seventh spot for most downloaded apps, worldwide for Q3 2020. The app has more than 110 Mn downloads, of which, an estimated 56.4 Mn installs are from India between July and the first week of September. Another Chinese short video sharing app Zili, owned by Beijing-headquartered phone maker Xiaomi, is estimated to have garnered 25.3 Mn downloads in India since the ban on TikTok was put in place.
In terms of app downloads across categories, India rules the charts, with 7.8 Bn app downloads in Q3 2020. A large majority of these downloads (more than 7.5 Bn) were from the Play Store, while a very small chunk came from the Apple App Store. The US ranks second with around 3.2 Bn downloads, highlighting the lead that India has gained over its peers in terms of mobile app usage. The country, with an estimated 560 Mn internet users, is one of the biggest markets for phone manufacturers, app developers and software companies today.