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Who wins if TikTok gets banned? These alternatives exploded in India

After India banned TikTok along with 58 other apps late last month, first-time installs of alternative video apps grew by a collective 155% in the country.

Who wins if TikTok gets banned? These alternatives exploded in India
[Photo: Kon Karampela/Unsplash]

As American officials continue to weigh a ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps, new data from a country that has already taken such a broad-based action offers clues as to which services might benefit from a TikTok-free world.

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After India banned TikTok along with 58 other apps late last month, first-time installs of the top alternative video apps grew by a collective 155% in the country, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. Here are the three big winners:

  • Roposo, an India-based video-sharing service, saw 13.3 million installs in the three weeks after the ban, an increase of 142%, Sensor Tower says.
  • Zili, a video app from China’s Xiaomi Corporation that operates in India and managed to escape the ban, jumped to 8 million installs, an increase of 167%.
  • Dubsmash, a video-sharing service headquartered in Brooklyn, jumped to 610,000 installs, an increase of 321%.

The firm looked at downloads from India’s App Store and Google Play.

The data suggests that entrenched players in the short-video space stand to gain the most if TikTok were to suddenly go away. Roposo, which is about five years old, already had a much bigger footprint in India than other TikTok alternatives—71 million total installs, compared to Zili’s 51 million and Dubsmash’s 30.4 million. That it saw such a huge spike relative to its size is impressive.

By contrast, TikTok was expected to reach 125 million users in India, according to a new report from eMarketer. The firm says its analysis assumes that the India ban won’t last very long.

Back in the United States, Facebook recently shut down its own TikTok clone, a service called Lasso, but Facebook-owned Instagram is reportedly gearing up to launch a competing service called Reels, TechCrunch reports. A TikTok ban stateside would surely benefit this nascent service.

TikTok and its parent company, China-based ByteDance, have come under scrutiny from governments and privacy advocates over potential security concerns. While TikTok has said it doesn’t share data on U.S. users with the Chinese government—it has an American CEO and its servers are based in Virginia—investors are reportedly considering contingencies, including a buyout. ByteDance is also considering changes to its corporate structure that would further distance the app from China, CNN reported.

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You can check out the full analysis from Sensor Tower here.

[Screenshot via Sensor Tower]
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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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