Foreign celebs and creators are using Indian song-and-dance-routines in their TikTok posts to bump up their fanbase. India is the biggest international market for the Chinese short-video-sharing platform with over 120 million users—four times that of the United States. And all this comes amid a growing clamour for boycott of Chinese apps in India.
Riding on Indian users
Australian cricketer David Warner, South African actor Jean Myburgh and Japanese pop idol group Chu-Z have seen their TikTok avatars climb the popularity charts after Indianising content during the lockdown.
Warner, have even snagged brand endorsement deals from PepsiCo on the basis of this newfound popularity.
With the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic curbing business opportunities, creators are viewing this as a strategy to build or grow their fanbase in India. Some have even experienced a two-fold growth in followers over the last couple of months. Read more.
High and dry
Small Indian startups have run out of funds without a government bailout package, two months after businesses were hit because of the Covid-19 lockdown. About 38% of startups and small and medium enterprises have run dry, from 27% in April, a survey by community platform LocalCircles showed. Around 4% of startups have already reported that they have shut down.
Why it matters
Most small businesses and startups never raise external funds, making the cash crunch a knotty problem as investors cannot step in to extend their cash runway. The number of businesses with 3-6 months of cash runway has come down to 16% currently from 23% one week into the lockdown in April, as per the survey. Read more.
Movie buffs want cinemas to reopen
In what could be termed as a silver lining for cinema theatre owners across the country, a recent survey by BookMyShow shows that more than half of the Indian moviegoers are eager to get back to the theatres even as the exhibitors remain temporarily shut due to Covid-19 pandemic.
By the numbers
- India’s largest ticketing website had conducted the survey across 235 cities and towns in the month of May, with over 4,000 respondents in the sample between the age group 18-65 years.
- The survey reveals that 54% of Indians are keen to step out for their favourite movies within 15-90 days of the lockdown lifting.
- Incidentally, 70% of the responses were from consumers in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, NCR, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada and Kochi.
- The survey shows that almost 98% of Indians expect cinemas to implement strict safety and hygiene measures. Read more
Swimming against the tide
The news isn’t all bad for white collar employees in India. Many companies are committed to disbursing variable pay and even increments, especially multinationals in sectors like consumer, IT products and pharmaceuticals, according to an industry survey. Four out of five companies surveyed by Aon in May said they are not instituting across-the-board pay cuts and nearly 70% said they would not lay off employees due to Covid-19.
On long-term incentives like employee stock options, the survey found that half of the companies didn’t have any plans revisit the quantum of such grants. Read more.
ByteDance shuts Vigo
Chinese Internet giant ByteDance is shutting down its short video apps Vigo Video and Vigo Lite in India on October 31, 2020, and asking users to export their videos to TikTok. The app, which was available on Android and iOS, has already been discontinued for Brazil and the Middle East.
Why is it significant?
Started in 2017, Vigo Video allowed users to create 15-second videos across various genres like dance, food, stunt, beauty, art, comedy, music, and pets among others. It had clocked over 100 million downloads globally since its inception, as per the app’s listing on Google Play.
However, unlike TikTok dominates the short video apps segment in India, Vigo Video wasn’t able to gain much traction in the country. It had about 4 million monthly active users last month while a lightweight version Vigo Lite had about 1.5 million users, according to a TechCrunch report. Read more.
(Illustration and graphics by Rahul Awasthi)