Vernacular Social Media App ShareChat Reaches Deep Into India

Photo Credit: BANITAtour on Pixabay 

India is a diverse country with over 30 languages and over 1600 dialects. According to KPMG, Indian language Internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% to 536 million or nearly 75% of the Internet base in 2021. It is this untapped market that Indian social media platform ShareChat caters to.

ShareChat’s Journey

ShareChat was founded in 2015 by IIT Kanpur graduates Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva. The trio met at a hackathon and went through 14 failure experiments including a real estate portal, a crowdsourcing platform, and a civic data platform. Their experiments led to a debating platform called Opinio that was similar to Reddit. They had 32,000 signups for a chat fight on the top Khan in Bollywood but they realized that people wanted to debate in their local language rather than English.

This was also the during the timeframe when falling prices of low-end Android smartphones and the launch of Jio and its free data push led to a surge in mobile Internet users in India. WhatsApp was already a rage but there was not much content in local languages.

In December 2014, the first version of ShareChat was launched as a chat app in 10 languages including English. The level of engagement in English was low, so they scrapped English and relaunched ShareChat in October 2015. They also included a user-generated content system.

Today, ShareChat has 30 million users across 14 Indian languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, and Assamese. About 92% of its users come from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

A user can select their language and access content on various topics like Entertainment, News, Fashion, Religion, and Love. ShareChat also helps identify users with similar interests and help them connect over private chats. It is a combination of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and users can share the news, jokes, couplets, songs, and videos from ShareChat on other messaging apps like WhatsApp.

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