After investing heavily in Indian payments, e-commerce, food tech, China tech giant Alibaba has reportedly invested $100Mn in VMate, a short video app launched in September 2016 by Alibaba subsidiary UCWeb. Alibaba is now trying to enter India’s video market.
According to TechCrunch, VMate has 30Mn users worldwide and the funding will be used to expand its business in India. At the time of it’s launching it only had a feature of video-streaming and short-video sharing. Now it has been upgraded to with other features like video downloads, and 3D face emojis. VMate’s features are close to the features of Bytedance’s TikTok, which are the immediate rivals as well. TikTok was recently banned by the government of India for exposing the underage kids to pornography. However, TikTok was revived within a week. Currently, Bytedance is also under the consideration of producing their own smartphones with TikTok and their other apps inbuilt. TikTok currently has more than 120Mn active users in India. The current value of TikTok is $75Bn without any investments from Tencent or Alibaba. TikTok is the biggest rival of Alibaba. Alibaba will have to gear up well to withstand the fierce competition posed by TikTok.
India- A Key Market For Alibaba
Alibaba’s main focus is on the prominent platforms such as BigBasket, Paytm, Zomato and e-commerce platform Snapdeal. Earlier, Alibaba had invested in Vidooly, which is an Indian video platform. Alibaba aims at expanding in India. In China Gateway Programme, which was held in Singapore, Alibaba Cloud intelligence international president, Selina Yuan told, “Today the program was launched and I can tell you that we are ready for India. It’s a global program and we already have 700 SMEs which will benefit from it.” It already has set up its two data centers in India. The chief product officer of Alibaba Cloud, Henry Zhang also stating the significance of the Indian market and said, “Indian customers are very much on the cutting edge. Some of the largest growing startups such as Paytm and Big Basket are in India. We are focussed on building products and services that will benefit Indian customers.”
India- The Growing Video Market
From the last 2 years, the video market graph has gone drastically up. Indians, who acted very miser when it came spending extra data, today, are on the top of it. Well, thanks to Jio! Mobile app downloads have increased by 165% in the last two years. TikTok was downloaded more than $240Mn times in India. Due to its massive reach, it was even used as an election tool as well.
With such a huge investment by Alibaba, it expects to reach as high as currently, TikTok is which is a huge challenge. Indians are already crazy about TikTok, it will be difficult to deviate their minds from their favorites to VMate. VMate has a huge challenge in front of it. It will have to come up with innovative ideas which would be appreciated and as well as used by the Indians.