In a step to fight back against local rival ByteDance, Google and Disney, Chinese tech giant Alibaba is planning to double down on India's video market. The company has announced that it is pumping $100 million into Vmate, a three-year-old social video app owned by its subsidiary company UC Web.
The company plans to use the profits gained through the subscriptions of Vmate by 30 million global users to scale up its business in India. Vmate was launched as a video streaming and short-video-sharing app in 2016.
Many of the features Vmate offers are similar to those offered by ByteDance's TikTok, which currently has more than 120 million active users in India. ByteDance has grown its business without taking money from either Alibaba or Tencent that have launched its own TikTok like app but with limited success.
UC Web also counts India as one of its biggest markets and has attempted to become a super app in India in recent years by including news and videos. In the last two years, it has been in talks with several bloggers and small publishers to host their articles directly on its platform. Though UC browser was once the most commonly used browser in the phone, the trend has been wiped away by smartphone wave as most of the Android smartphones have Google Chrome as their default browser.
The move comes as Alibaba revives its attempts to take on the growing social video apps market, something on which it has missed out completely in China. Vmate could potentially help it fill the gap in India....