India Journalism

India’s Newest Internet Users Are Addicted to These Apps From China

2019 03 15chinese apps

That’s the headline on my latest story, out yesterday. It begins:

NEW DELHI—Some of China’s quirkiest social-media firms are signing up hundreds of millions of consumers in India, tech’s biggest untapped market, looking to capture users who aren’t already locked into Facebook , Twitter or other American apps.

Chinese content-sharing apps such as Bigo Inc.’s Like and Bigo Live, along with Bytedance Ltd.’s Helo and TikTok, are taking off in this country of 1.3 billion, where most people are getting online for the first time using low-cost smartphones and dirt-cheap data plans. These apps, with ad-supported models, feature hours and hours of mostly wacky and often titillating content: brief videos of slapstick gags, girls blowing kisses, patriotic songs, teens twerking to the latest Bollywood hits and more.

Their simple interfaces appeal to users such as Asha Limbu, a 31-year-old from the northeastern state of Manipur who works as a housekeeper in New Delhi. In between doing housework for a middle class family, Ms. Limbu spends three hours a day on Like, scrolling through hundreds of tiny videos in a sitting and connecting with friends and strangers along the way.

“Facebook is boring,” she said. She has heard of Twitter and Instagram but never tried them.

Click through to read the rest.

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