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Reports claim Google in talks to buy ShareChat

Logo of ShareChat app
(Image credit: ShareChat)
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Tech giant Google, which is keen on investing in Indian platforms, is said to be in negotiations to buy Indian social media platform ShareChat.

According to news reports, ShareChat, which gained good traction in the aftermath of ban on Chinese apps like TikTok, is valued at around $1.03 billion. We had predicted it to be among the 5 apps that will make the most out of the ban on Chinese apps.

The deal, if it goes through, will have Google buying out the entire company, leaving a small stake for the founders.

ShareChat was founded in 2015 by Ankush Sachdeva, who is the company's CEO, Bhanu Pratap Singh is its CTO, and Farid Ahsan is the COO.

Both the companies have not responded to the media reports.

It may be recalled that in August 2020 there were market reports that Microsoft may invest in the $100 million in ShareChat in a funding round.

Why is Google interested in ShareChat?

Google had earlier this year 'Google for India Digitization Fund', through which it pledged to invest Rs 75,000 crore, or approximately $10 billion, into India over the next 5-7 years.  

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, had said "We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy."

ShareChat is typically a startup that would interest Google. 

It is a company that can give Google a big boost in the social space, especially in a huge market like India's. More importantly in its small towns.

Google’s move is seen as a bid by the tech giant to increase it traction in vernacular content space.

ShareChat registers 166% growth

ShareChat is in 15 languages, has a short video formal called Moj and has 160 mn active users. It is said to have gained 100mn after India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps. That is a 166% spike in its monthly active users base.

Over these months, the daily average user time spent on the platform has also increased from 24 minutes to 31 minutes.

The social media platform’s growth in Tier II and Tier III areas may have been very attractive to Google. 

ShareChat recently did a survey on how Indian users in Tier II and Tier III cities have become more relevant and important as they dominate the usage pattern.

Also, it has placed itself smartly and strategically as an Indian alternative to Chinese apps.  Immediately after the government announced a ban, it was one of the first companies to welcome the decision.

"This is a welcome move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem," ShareChat had said.

ShareChat already has a clutch of investors like Twitter, Lightspeed, Elevation Capital.

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.