The Indian government’s move to ban 59 Chinese apps citing concerns of data security and national sovereignty quickly followed up by an interim order to blocked access of 47 Chinese phone applications has given a boost to many homegrown apps. Among the banned applications, many prominent apps had millions of user base and had captured the Indian market for several years.
Chinese Applications Ruled The Indian Market
Estimates by Sensor Tower show the video-sharing social networking app, TikTok has seen about 611 Mn downloads in India, while estimates of active users vary with the highest pegged at 200 Mn. According to media reports, the file-sharing tool SHAREIt had about 400 Mn users. Statcounter placed the Alibaba-owned UC Browser second in India market share at 10.19%, after Google Chrome (78.2%) and had its user base at 130 Mn. These are few examples only, many companies have occupied the Indian market with numerous downloads and active users.
Impact Of The Move On Indian Companies
The government’s move to ban Chinese applications has given a boost to many homegrown apps. Within a short span of time, many Made in India applications showed a surge in downloads. Users have also been looking forward to Indian alternatives of banned Chinese applications. The ban on 59 Chinese apps has allowed Indian app-makers to grab the vacuum.
Ban of Chinese applications saw a positive response from the global market too. Earlier many apps compromised user data, the used to spy on users and sending data back to China and other companies. The Indian government has recognised and acted on concerns over data protection and privacy. This step will help foster domestic entrepreneurship underpinned by sustainable, global free-market principles.
The government is also taking steps that will boost the market for Indian apps. Recently intending to support and build a strong ecosystem for Indian apps, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in partnership with Niti Aayog launched the Atal Innovation Mission – Digital India Atmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation challenge for Indian tech entrepreneurs and startups. The government’s mission is to build a strong ecosystem to develop and promote indigenous world-class apps.
The innovation challenge will help identify the “best” Indian apps in eight categories like productivity and work from home, social networking, e-learning, entertainment, health and wellness, business including agritech and fintech, news, and games that are already available for use and scale them to “world-class” standards. Indian entrepreneurs and startups are incentivised to ideate, incubate, build, nurture and sustain tech solutions that can serve not only citizens within India but also the world.
With the government’s push for self-reliance to Indian startups to create secure platforms to address domestic needs, now Indian companies can leverage an active network of developers who offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to users. Earlier too Indian firms have provided support services to global companies for app development. The ban on Chinese apps has seen many Indian developers swoop in to attract users. The government’s innovation challenge will boost their morale.
The government has been vocal about local for a while now. The current wave of anti-China sentiment has made the government take due action to actively promote “make in India”, which will go a long way in building faith among Indians.
Future Of Indian Market
Over the years – in the Indian market – a large ecosystem has been formed, assisted by a steady flow of tech-savvy human capital. India’s push for self-reliance is the belief that it must rise to prominence in a globalised digital environment in which internet freedom, data privacy and cybersecurity are held in high standards.
5G which is around the corner will spawn a whole new breed of apps that harness VR, AR and IoT with diverse end-uses, ranging from e-learning to telemedicine, and entertainment to ecommerce. India has leaped into a new digital age, app developers who have now got wings to secure themselves for the future. It will increase data localisation requirements, public-private partnerships to benefit from facilitating the buildout of robust cloud infrastructure and high-capacity data centres to make India an international mega-node of commercial digital activity.