After the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps, they were either blocked or removed from the stores. Some lite versions of these banned apps, especially Likee Lite, have found a workaround and have managed to garner a significant number of downloads.
According to data sourced from mobile app market intelligence platform Sensor Tower, Likee Lite has amassed 8.68 million downloads in the first two weeks of the announcement of ban or between June 29 to July 12. Experts tracking the space estimate that Likee would have crossed 9 million downloads since June 29.
The platform is owned by Singapore-based Bigo Technology, which also owns Bigo Live. However, its promoters and investors are Chinese. The Indian government had banned Likee and Bigo Live along with 57 other apps on June 29. Soon after the ban, Bigo also released an official statement saying that it has temporarily taken off Likee from Google Play and App Store and has suspended its service in India until further notice.
Apple had removed Likee from its app store for downloads after July 3 whereas Likee Lite has never been available for iOS-powered phones. Meanwhile, installs via Google Play Store for Likee Lite weren’t affected much. The lite version app has also managed to earn $571 in revenue from India during the period mentioned above.
Likee Lite is behind two Indian short video apps in terms of downloads during the period. InMobi-owned Roposo recorded 10.8 million downloads whereas ShareChat-owned short video app Moj registered 9.85 million downloads during the period.
On July 12, Likee Lite was ranked second among top app charts across all categories in India. Moj is leading the table, on the other hand, Roposo and MX Player’s short video app MX TakaTak were ranked at 3rd and 6th respectively.
Chingari, Mitron and Trell, which have taken the short video apps by storm in India, received 6 million, 5 million and 5.7 million downloads respectively during the 14 days period. Recently, media reports claimed that Mitron crossed the 25 million download mark while Chingari is close to 20 million downloads.
Recently launched MX TakaTak also registered 2 million installs in quick time.
Apart from Likee Lite, Bigo Live Lite, HAGO Lite, Parallel Space Lite, Viva Video Lite are also available on Play Store. Given that TikTok lite version is not available for downloads in India, this raises a concern that even after the official ban how these lite versions are allowed to operate in the coubtry. It appears that Play Store has only banned 59 apps mentioned by the Indian government and the lite version of Likee wasn’t included in the list.