After a complaint from vernacular app ShareChat, the Delhi High Court has refrained the world’s most valuable startup Bytedance from using ShareChat as an ad-word on Google.
Besides, the court asked Google to deactivate the use of ShareChat or any other identical app by Bytedance on its ad-words platform within 48 hours.
ShareChat’s counsel had alleged that when a user searches the app on Google’s database, Bytedance’s newly launched app Helo appears first in the list.
Not only ad-words, but ShareChat has also argued that Bytedance’s Helo is a complete copy of the Indian counterpart. It claimed that feature, UI/UX, and various icons also copied by the Chinese company.
According to ShareChat counsel, the Chinese company is copying/misusing the various comments and posts by its users by wrongly attributing them to fictitious people on Helo app, reports ET.
Since its inception in India, Bytedance’s Helo has been compared with ShareChat in terms of competition as it is almost identical to it.
For instance, ShareChat has categories like Ladies’ Corner, Lifestyle, Jokes, WhatsApp Status, Love Bytes, Wishes, Quotes, and others. Helo also has similar features such as Helo Trend, Helo Challenge, Wishes, Jokes, Love Bytes, Ladies Corner and News Corner.
Unlike ShareChat, Helo is mainly focused on Hindi speaking people particularly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where ShareChat has already proved its dominance.
In terms of daily active users, Helo has between 5-10 million (unclaimed) in comparison to ShareChat that claims around 10 million DAU’s.
Importantly, Bytedance has been aggressively spending in India. The company’s another product TikTok (also merged Musical.ly) is growing fast in the country. Since it has similar users data (accumulated via various properties), promoting multiple apps and driving usage becomes easy for the Chinese behemoth.
In an exclusive interview with Entrackr, Ankush Sachdeva, CEO, and co-founder of ShareChat had said “Great opportunities will always have great competitors. We aren’t bothered by them (Helo). Our mantra is to beat the competition through growth
Reacting to the case Bytedance contacted Entrackr through email with the following response:
“We are not surprised by this case, which has happened at a time when Helo is increasingly popular in India. We are certainly not deterred by competition. Launched in India early this June, Helo has quickly gained a positive reputation and a significant number of followers with our convenient post and re-post functions supported by a user interface that is developed in-house, along with trending topics and content that are spontaneously generated by users. We are also constantly improving Helo’s look and feel to better serve and engage our users. In particular, our algorithm is advanced and tailored to different languages, hence catering to local communities. We are focused on being a responsible company, in compliance with local laws and regulations, that will work with different stakeholders to make our app a better place for all Indians to share content in their own familiar languages. Currently, we already have 14 languages available, and we will strengthen our commitment to all Indian users.”