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Indian startup ShareChat looks to fill void left by TikTok ban

Indian startup ShareChat looks to fill void left by TikTok ban
ShareChat, a Twitter-backed Indian social media platform that caters for users in 15 regional languages, is one of many firms looking to fill the gap left by China’s TikTok app after it was banned in India.

TikTok had around 200 million users in the country when New Delhi announced the ban in late June, citing national security concerns. Just days later, ShareChat launched its own short-video platform, Moj.

“We’ve been very, very opportunistic because we figured that this is a large vacuum, it’s a large opportunity of short-video market, and therefore, we launched on that product,” Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder and CEO of ShareChat, told CNBC on Monday.

“I still believe there is a large appetite for short-video content and if we can provide a really good experience, that essentially translates to a really good AI-backed feed, there is a large market to be captured,” he added. 

Moj now has more than 80 million monthly active users who spend on average 34 minutes on the platform every day. ShareChat itself has grown “exponentially,” having amassed 160 million monthly active users, up from 60 million during the same period last year.

Also on rt.com Federal judge blocks Trump’s effort to ban TikTok from US app stores

The company said it raised $40 million last week in pre-Series E funds from a variety of investors. The startup, which has raised around $264 million to date, is also thinking about expanding outside of India, though such plans are at an early stage.

“India could never have dreamt of having a homegrown social media platform, had ShareChat not embarked on the impossible in 2015,” said Madhukar Sinha, a partner at India Quotient, one of the earliest backers of ShareChat.

He added that the company’s “success has given immense hope to India’s startup fraternity, and motivated entrepreneurs to take audacious bets in India’s internet ecosystem.”

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