A universe of home grown regional language social networks is taking shape. These startups lay a firm foundation in creating a language economy and offer an opportunity to network in regional languages.
I’ve been long fascinated by the way languages have started to gain attention. Ever since digitization took shape, it has always been a question as to how does the vernacular segment get access to this vast world of information and data.
While there are many battles at various levels, we also have some people who dared to walk the path less known and seek growth there too.
Some of the examples are ShareChat, ClipApp, Roposo, Mooshak, YourQuote, Inpix (In Shorts) and et all.
Users from Tier 1 cities (50 crores) prefer English according to a KPMG report. Indian language users will account for about 75% of India’s internet base by 2021, says the report. Startups are focusing on local language enabling through keyboards and smartphones – a visible trend since 5 years.
Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities prefer to use their local/regional language to engage in social networks or apps.
Startup analytics firm Traxcn has this to say:
2015>>> 329::: No. of social networking companies founded
The overall funding that the language based startups have received amounts to $130.68 million. Out of all, 8 companies are solely operating in the vernacular language market. The numbers could be higher.
Social Media Platforms in India fall broadly in 3 major categories.
>> Global giants like FB, Twitter and Instagram
>> Founded in the early yeara of the present decade like Tripoto and Roposo
>> New generation apps like ClipApp and Inpix
Indian Social Networking stories share a bleak picture. Regional language adoption has seen a rise in engagement in last 2 to 3 years. Including more number of languages leads to users spending 30 to 40% more time on websites. This would eventually also help the Indian companies compete better with global social networking giants as it helps improve app rankings and creates a user friendly language based network and thus an ecosystem.
Present day internet users are interested in networking as well as content in their language that is also sharable within their close community members (through apps or offline). This trend was first visible when language based WhatsApp groups came into being.
Monetisation however, remains a challenge for most startups. While building a community of users is important, the money part poses a question in front of startups whether they should go for the the social commerce model or traditional advertising way to get customers.
Hence regional language apps have a USP here. They can create communities in different languages and offer customised content. Traditional media in India is not limited to English and Hindi language.
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