The recent ban on 59 Chinese apps in India has given a new lease of life to homegrown players who were struggling to make their presence felt in their respective categories. Short video platform Chingari, which is said to be an Indian rival to TikTok, is one such application that has grown leaps and bounds ever since the government’s directive came into force. Chingari (at the time of going to press) has garnered over 22M downloads, 5M daily active users and over 2M reviews on Google Play Store. Sumit Ghosh, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Chingari, speaks more about the app and its growing popularity, in an interaction with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Ghosh lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat Innovation’ challenge that allows the IT workforce of India to come forward and show the potential of homegrown apps. Excerpts:
Please tell us about the journey of Chingari. Where were you when your Chinese counterparts were raking in moolah in India?
From starting as an unrecognized app to one of the fastest-growing mobile apps that have achieved the feat of 11 million downloads in less than 22 days, the journey of Chingari is incredible. We have always been rooting for developing an all-in-one app that provides the two most important things, videos and news. And finally, made it happen in November 2018 when we launched our app. While developing the app, our priority was consumers, that they should enjoy and have a good time using it.
After launching Chingari, we started working on making it better in terms of features, user-interface and data security. Though TikTok had already gained popularity at that time, we were sure with our ideas and efforts that Chingari was altogether a different platform built with a different perspective and would get noticeable downloads sooner or later, irrespective of the success of TikTok.
The ban on TikTok and other similar platforms might have given a new lease of life to Chingari. How do you look at this development and the response so far on Google Play and App Store?
The response Chingari is getting is so unreal. We cannot deny that the ban on TikTok has brought light to Chingari. We have witnessed over 3 million downloads in just 10 days and over 500,000 downloads in just 72 hours. There’s a huge increase in our retention numbers and daily app user’s engagement time. But at the end of the day, what matters to us is, people are appreciating our efforts and enjoying using the app.
We have garnered over 22M downloads, 5M DAUs (Daily Active Users) and over 2M reviews on Google Play Store after the Chinese app ban.
We see this situation as a once in a lifetime opportunity to make people understand the power of ‘Made In India’ apps, and therefore, our team is working round the clock to set the bar high.
|“We cannot deny that the ban on TikTok has brought light to Chingari. We have witnessed over 3 million downloads in just 10 days and over 500,000 downloads in just 72 hours. There’s a huge increase in our retention numbers and daily app user’s engagement time. But at the end of the day, what matters to us is, people are appreciating our efforts and enjoying using the app”|
Is it the beginning of a new era for homegrown apps which were biting dust owing to dominance of Chinese players?
Yes, it is surely the beginning of a new era for homegrown apps. Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has also initiated the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Innovation’ challenge to allow the IT workforce of our nation to come forward and show the potential of homegrown apps.
It is undoubtedly a revolutionary move, and also very essential at the same time to empower the sovereignty and security of the country, looking at the potential threats from neighboring countries like China.
It must have been a surreal experience for Chingari with regard to its user base. Are your servers capable of handling such huge traffic?
Chingari has seen an upsurge in the number of users reaching 100,000 downloads per hour since the TikTok ban and now has more than 5 million daily active users. We are working on the AWS cloud servers and are now successfully able to handle millions of users seamlessly. The videos are only 15 seconds to 60 seconds, and we can accommodate without any hassle.
What are you doing at the value addition front to make your platform more exciting?
We were leading top in the Google Play Store, even with the basic features. Therefore, we are working hard to make our application more seamless. We are actively working to make our UI/UX more interesting, and there will definitely be many more exciting features and improvements coming up that will hopefully make users enjoy using Chingari and attract new flaming talents on the hot new stage to set the world on fire.
Content moderation is an issue of concern for social media platforms. How do you handle it?
The dissemination on social media sites of disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and violent and extremist content heated debate in 2019. Considering all these, we trumpeted the potential benefits of applying Machine Learning algorithms to implement content policies that help to better interpret the sense, complexity, and context of language needed to recognize online abuse and bullying. We have human content moderators along with it, who review and delete the content if it exceeds the threshold.
What efforts you are putting into marketing to make Chingari more popular and increase its recall value amid growing competition in this sector?
To make Chingari more popular, we are focusing on providing users a golden chance to create and share their music on the platform. Also, Chingari will pay the music composers for their songs that become popular on the app. For every video that users upload, they get points per view that can be redeemed for money. We’re also approaching content creators to join our app.
In the coming days, Chingari is ready to set ablaze the market with new unique AR filters, amazing features, and such User Interface people will love.
Can you please tell us about the funds you are raising and how they are going to help your business model?
Chingari’s popularity is growing at a fast speed and the company is growing. But as you know to expand, business needs funds. Yes, we are in talks with investors to raise funds.
This is definitely going to help Chingari to flame higher, come up with high tech visual features which users can add in their video, fresh filters, collaboration programs and much more. As the brand evolves and new users and market requirements fall in, funds will definitely play a major role to help Chingari succeed.
Since short video platforms have emerged as a big marketing tool, are you also looking for corporate clients to increase your source of revenue?
We always welcome strategic alliances that are mutually beneficial, whether it be corporate, media, or any other client.
What Chingari is doing to ensure the security of data in India?
We understand the importance and the need for data security and leaving no stone unturned to not compromise with it. We are using a dedicated and secured AWS cloud server to store our data and strictly taking protective measures to keep unauthorized access out of it.
Our team is making sure to not only bring new features in the coming days but will also bring extra security with every update.