New Delhi: Until 10 June, mobile app Chingari had amassed about 1 lakh downloads since its launch in November 2018. Fast forward 20 days, its numbers have shot up to 1 crore downloads, all thanks to India’s ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said app co-founder and chief of product Sumit Ghosh.
The apps ban and the ‘Boycott China’ campaign has helped the Indian app find success like never before.
Similar to TikTok, Chingari provides entertaining, short videos, but also has a news and games section.
The Bengaluru-based lead team behind the app are Biswatma Nayak and Sumit Ghosh.
Speaking to ThePrint, Ghosh said Chingari saw downloads go from 3 lakh per hour to 6 lakh per hour between 5pm and 9pm on 30 June, the day after India announced the ban. The TikTok ban was completely enforced on existing users around 5pm that day.
“Not even Facebook’s mobile app and Mark Zuckerberg would have had 6 lakh downloads per hour in its best of times,” said Ghosh.
India banned the Chinese apps on the grounds that they were a threat to national security and user privacy.
TikTok ban was just one factor
It wasn’t just the TikTok ban alone that helped Chingari. According to Ghosh, the app started to gain user attention around 10 June. “There were many apps using the ‘Boycott China’ campaign to go viral around this time, we just did it better and faster,” Ghosh said.
Chingari gained further prominence when Anand Mahindra tweeted on 28 June, “I hadn’t ever downloaded TikTok but I have just downloaded Chingari… More power to you…”
Ghosh said they hope to announce a round of investment soon.
“No Chinese capital. It’s mostly going to be Indian, and some US capital. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ghosh said.
Since Chingari gained viral popularity, Ghosh has been constantly tweeting charts and figures showing Chingari’s traction.
A tweet from Ghosh reads: “850,000 users per hour in the app”.
— Sumit Ghosh (@sumitgh85) June 30, 2020
However, accommodating the sudden massive surge in users is not easy. Another tweet from Ghosh says, “Hey Bharat! We managed to crash our servers again, guys pls be patient…working hard since last 48 hours, sleeping less than 2 hours, making sure we could scale up all parts of our infra fast.”
Ghosh and Chingari are just getting started.
“This is my full time job,” said Ghosh as engineers from Chingari and Amazon Web Services worked to on the servers to ensure it could handle the high volume of traffic.
“This will be my full time job for the next 10 years,” he said.