EXCLUSIVE: Will never sell Chingari App to Facebook or Google, says co-founder Sumit Ghosh
In an exclusive interview with Zee Business, Sumit Ghosh – Co-Founder and Chief of Product – Chingari, said that he will never sell the app to biggies like Google or Facebook. Ghosh also made it clear that the platform will never have a Chinese investor.
Chingari App is turning out to be true Indian success story with over 3 lakh people joining the platform every hour, ever since the Indian government decided to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok. The short-video platform, which also provides news and games, plans to become India’s super app and doesn’t have any plans of selling it to tech giants. In an exclusive interview with Zee Business, Sumit Ghosh – Co-Founder and Chief of Product – Chingari, said that he will never sell the app to biggies like Google or Facebook. Ghosh also made it clear that the platform will never have a Chinese investor.
“We will definitely need capital to grow this platform. We can’t think about monetisation before that growth is achieved. But, I want to be very clear that we will never sell Chingari to Facebook, Google or any other social media platform. I want to make it India’s super-app. Our vision is to get users from other countries on board and not to sell it,” he said.
Ghosh said that the capital can be raised through Indian industrialists like Ratan Tata or Anand Mahindra. He said that some of them have even shown interest. The platform is in talks with some global investors as well and can make a big announcement regarding this by the end of July.
“Also, I want to make it very clear that we are a ‘Made in India’ company and will never have a Chinese investor on board. We will make sure that we get growth capital either from an Indian industrialist or from Global investors,” Sumit said.
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While the app is making headlines now, it has been a result of years of hard work. The beta version of the platform was launched in 2018 and the initial version made its way to Play Store in 2019.
“This is a really good feeling. Ever since the news of Tiktok ban broke, the number of downloads have gone over the roof. At peak timings, we were getting about 6 lakh downloads per hour and even now, we are getting at least 3 lakh downloads per hour. This is a very exciting phase for us,” Sumit said.
He added that the idea behind Chingari was to create a super-app for ‘Bharat’ and target people living in smaller cities.
The Chingari team got to know about Musical.ly App – which at that time was going viral among college teams. The idea was to create a competitor for Musically. Tables turned when ByteDance bought the platform and merged it with TikTok, injecting a fresh set of funds, making it impossible for anyone else to compete with the app.
“We didn’t give up on Chingari. We kept working on the platform. Whenever TikTok used to launch a new feature, we would study that and evolve our platform. We were getting users but the growth wasn’t as big as TikTok,” Sumit said.
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In May this year, Sonam Wangchuck released a video where he urged people to boycott Chinese apps and opt for Indian alternatives. That came as a big moment for Chingari. It started a meme campaign on Instagram which went viral.
Another big moment for the app came when veteran industrialist Anand Mahindra tweeted about the app. Mahindra said that he has never downloaded TikTok but is now using Chingari. That came as a big validation for the platform.
“After that tweet, we were getting about 1 lakh downloads per hour. The entire team was up all night trying to keep our servers running. In fact, our biggest challenge right now is to ensure that we keep serving the users,” Sumit said.
The final push came in form of Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps including TikTok.
“At least 40 to 50 lakh people have been joining us every single day. No other Indian platform has been able to achieve this so far. The closest was Paytm during demonetisation. This was our moment,” Sumit concluded.
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