This post has been updated.
India’s desi alternative to TikTok is struggling to cope with its growing popularity.
A lesser-known short-form video sharing platform, Chingari, is facing technical snarls as it deals with an unprecedented surge in traffic following the Indian government’s ban on 59 Chinese apps on June 29.
Yesterday (June 30), Chingari’s servers repeatedly crashed and the company’s chief product officer took to Twitter to ask users to be patient.
Chingari, founded by Bengaluru-based programmers Biswatma Nayak, Siddharth Gautam, and Sumit Ghosh, has been trending on Google’s Android Play Store and Apple’s iOS app store.
On June 29, the app was getting 100,000 downloads each hour.
One of India’s top industrialists, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, has also backed the app publicly.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, along with 58 other apps, has been banned in India following the escalation of a border conflict with China. The Indian government has said these apps are “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, (and) security of (the) state.” However, TikTok has defended itself saying it does not share Indian users’ information with “any foreign government, including the Chinese government.”
Chingari app hit Google Play Store in November 2018 and was launched on iOS in January 2019.
The video-sharing and creation app is free to download, and users can view content without signing up, just like TikTok. For sharing and liking a video, however, registration is mandatory.
Chingari can be used in several Indian languages including Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, and Tamil, besides English. Apart from video sharing, the app also has news and gaming segments.
The gaming zone includes quizzes in which the users can win prizes up to Rs1,000 ($13).
The app is working overtime to publicise its Indian roots to take advantage of the recent ban.
“For a very long time, TikTok has been spying on users and sending back the data to China,” Chingari’s Ghosh said in a statement. “We would like to welcome all the users of TikTok to come and try our Chingari, which is a 100% India grown app, and made for the passionate Indians.”
While the app gains popularity, its scalability will depend on how it handles privacy and continuously enhances the user experience to keep customers hooked.