The government of India has announced the winners of MyGov and Niti Aayog’s Aatmanirbhar App Challenge. In the challenge, made in India social media app Chingari has been adjudged as the best overall app in the ‘social networking’ category, therefore walking away with the top prize of Rs 20 lakh that has been awarded to each of the eight category winners. The second spot has been adjudged as a tie, with lesser known entities Koo and YourQuote levelled for the second prize.
The three apps seemingly defeated more popular apps such as Mitron and Roposo to be given the award in the Aatmanirbhar App Challenge. It is not clear yet if ShareChat, arguably India’s most popular homegrown social media platform, participated in the challenge. Questions sent by News18 to a ShareChat spokesperson remained unanswered at the time of publishing.
Chingari premiered to the public in India on June 10, close to three weeks before the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps from the Indian cyber space, which included widely popular Chinese social media platforms such as Helo, Likee, Bigo Live, and most notably, TikTok. The Bytedance-operated service has since attracted plenty of controversy around the world for its alleged links to the Chinese government, raising data security concerns.
Chingari offers a similar short video format social media platform right now, with the aim to fill in the void that TikTok has left in India. As its founder, Sumit Ghosh, said in an interview with News18, Chingari has reportedly grown from 3.5 million overall downloads and 1 million daily active users, to around 26 million overall downloads and 3.5 million daily active users right now.
The second place awardee, Koo, is billed as India’s alternative to Twitter, and has been built by Mayank Bidawatka and Aprameya Radhakrishna, who have previously worked together on two made in India services – TaxiForSure and Vokal. With Vokal already having a vernacular language platform at hand, the app’s founders appear to have cashed in on their prior experience in this field, hence ranking second in the Aatmanirbhar App Challenge promoted jointly by MeitY’s MyGov, and Niti Aayog.
The third award winner, YourQuote, has also been around for a while, and has so far been billed as’ Instagram for writers’. Built by Harsh Snehanshu and Ashish Singh, the app has already raised funding almost three years ago, and offers an Instagram-style layout for writers to pen down stories of up to 1,200 characters, and in turn retain better copyright control over their work.
Going forward, it remains to be seen how these apps benefit from winning the Aatmanirbhar App Challenge. With strong anti-China sentiments in India, each of these apps claim to be offering unique propositions to fill the void left by the banned Chinese apps. The top prize was won by Chingari, which took home a prize of Rs 20 lakh. The two second placed apps, Koo and YourQuote, won Rs 15 lakh each.