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Indian startups that compete with WhatsApp have decided to move completely away from messaging.
Hike Messenger, which received investment from Tencent, Tiger Global, and SoftBank and was valued at 1.4 billion dollars (about 145 billion yen) in 2016, was launched in early January 2021. Announced that it will shut down its messaging app StickerChat (StickerChat users received a notification last weekend to inform them of this).
Founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, the startup will shift its focus this month to two virtual social apps called Vibe and Rush, Indian telecommunications giant Airtel. Said the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of the company.
In a series of tweets posted in early January 2021, Mr. Kavin said that India would not own a domestic messenger that would penetrate the world’s second-largest market unless India banned Western companies from doing business. It was. “The influence of global networks is too strong,” he said. WhatsApp has more than 450 million users in India, making it the largest market for users.
Mittal described the opportunity to build a virtual world as “a much better approach in today’s world, not constrained by cheap, fast data and powerful smartphones.”
The end of Hike’s messenger service coincides with the time Signal and Telegram have gained tens of millions of users in the last few weeks. As WhatsApp plans to update its data sharing policy, many WhatsApp fans have decided to consider alternative services during January 2020. “Both (Telegram and Signal) are very good. They both have the right motivation (to be more consumer-friendly) as independent services, unlike Facebook products.” Earlier this month MittalTweeted。
In recent years, Hike has been betting on stickers and emoji to meet the young Indians. At a meeting with TechCrunch in late 2019, Mittal said the startup is focusing on deploying stickers on the platform and working to automate the development of personalized stickers. It was.
At another meeting in 2020, Mittal unveiled emojis expressing human emotions and a virtual hangout called Hike Land. Vibe is a rebranded version of Hike Land, and as Mittal said, the emojis developed by Hike will continue to be available to users in both new apps in early January 2020.
Hike, which has raised more than $ 260 million so far, was able to have enough runways in 2020, Mittal said, and the startup will have more money a year later. Implied that there is a possibility of procuring.
Hike has also attempted to buy a startup called Creo to build its own operating system. In 2018, Hike announced the Total OS aimed at helping users with low-priced Android smartphones with slow internet data.
However, the company later ended the project. India’s data problem is resolved with the emergence of a new low-priced carrier, Reliance Jio, urging Airtel and Vodafone to lower mobile data prices on their networks. But Total OS is no longer needed in the market, Mittal told TechCrunch.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.