In late June, when India banned 59 Chinese apps, including global sensation TikTok, the short-video platform stopped working for its 200 million local users. Within hours, an avalanche of new sign-ups pushed the servers of one of its Bangalore-based rivals, Roposo, to breaking point.
Two weeks on, Roposo, which also offers short videos, says it’s peaking at 500,000 new users an hour and expects to have 100 million by month’s end. That’s almost double the 55 million it had before the ban, and puts Roposo among a profusion of Indian startups to benefit from TikTok’s troubles in the country.
The ban from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government covered other big Chinese names such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s UC Web mobile browser and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat messaging app, and came amid a brutal border face-off between India and China that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
While India cited privacy and security concerns, the restrictions are poised to dramatically alter the competitive landscape in the nation’s digital economy. They give local firms a fighting chance at winning a larger chunk of the country’s more than half-a-billion internet denizens. And they could pave the way for some Indian firms to compete more aggressively with global giants such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., who are also seeking to profit from one of the world’s largest digital booms.
“It was a rocket ship instant for the country’s app startups,” said Naveen Tewari, founder of the startup that owns Roposo, munching nuts against the backdrop of the red-brick-walled study in his Bangalore home on a recent Zoom call. “We have a viable chance to become the world’s fourth technology hub after the U.S., China and Russia.”
His decade-old digital advertising startup InMobi, Roposo’s parent, has in earlier years drawn investments from global names such as SoftBank Group. Last year, PayPal co-founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel backed its unit, Glance, which acquired Roposo in November.
Bombay HC allows Kangana Ranaut to include Sanjay Raut in plea against BMC
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut to include Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and a civic body officer as parties to her plea against the demolition carried out at her office in Bandra on September 9.
Besides Raut, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation’s H-West Ward’s designated officer Bhagyavant Late was allowed to be made parties by a division bench of Justices SJ Kathawala and RI Chagla.
The matter was posted for next hearing on September 25 after BMC senior counsel Aspi Chinoy sought time as Kangana had made some fresh statements in her affidavit.
In her plea, Kangana has sought HC directions to declare the demolition carried out by the BMC as illegal and demanded Rs two crore as damages from the civic body.
When her lawyer Birendra Saraf submitted a video containing Raut’s speech with alleged threatening comments against the actress, Justice Kathawala said that if Kangana wanted to rely on the clip, then Raut must also get a chance to respond.
“What if he (Raut) says that he did not make these statements or that the video is fabricated? You must give him an opportunity to reply,” the court ruled.
On Saraf’s plea, Late was also included as a party since the officer had handled all the communications pertaining to the illegal construction notice and the subsequent demolition.
The BMC had bulldozed a significant portion of Kangana’s bungalow on the ground that she had made illegal alterations and structural changes in violation of the civic body’s sanctioned plans.
Rushing to the High Court, Kangana’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui secured a stay within hours even as the demolition was underway on September 9. She later denied all claims made by the BMC.
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