Published: 6/30/2020

Morning folks! Vedica here today with the update. Geopolitics really is all in our faces these days. Anmol wrote about the H1B ban yesterday and today I'll be taking another one - India's decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps. And we'll also cover Byju's recent raise from Mary Meeker's Bond.

  • https://bit.ly/2NIeTXa: India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, Helo and WeChat
  • ➡️ The Indian govt, without naming China, banned 59 mobile apps (all Chinese) "which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order". TikTok is the first name in the list of banned apps, but other banned apps include popular ones like Shareit, Cam scanner, We Chat, etc.

    ➡️ TikTok is, unsurprisingly, the biggest name on the list and as of today has been taken down from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Users who have the app downloaded can apparently still use the app and post videos, though. It is worth highlighting that TikTok has nearly 119 million active users in India, India accounts 1/3 of TikTok's total downloads and 15% of the app's active users.

    ➡️ There's been a lot of chatter on Twitter on how this is a big moment for Indian start-ups. To be quite honest, I think the idea that Indian start-ups can cater to a market *now* because Chinese apps have been forced out is quite defeatist. And it's particularly hypocritical given how much money Indian start-ups have raised from Chinese companies and investors. It's not surprising though, as I noted in this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/vedicakant/status/1269541499823198209

    ➡️ I am not arguing that there's no strategic reason to ban the apps or curtail Chinese investment in India, but it seems like a really silly and meager measure at best, especially since the government was happy to accept contributions by Chinese firms to the PM Cares till a few weeks ago. As the Suhasini Haider, the Diplomatic Affairs Editor at The Hindu noted: "If banning 59 apps is meant to be a measure against PLA incursions, killing of 20 soldiers at Galwan, it falls way short. If it's meant to hurt China economically, it also falls way short."

    2. https://tcrn.ch/2Vy3Bcl: Mary Meeker's Bond backs Byju's

    ➡️ Indian edtech continues to be on 🔥🔥🔥 Byju’s announced a new raise, saying it had raised an undisclosed amount from Bond. The firm’s check reportedly valued the company at $10.5 billion. This means Byju's has nearly doubled its valuation in a year.

    ➡️ Byju’s is now the second most valued startup in India. The raise means it had surpassed Oyo, last valued at $10 billion, though Paytm, valued at $16 billion late last year, retains the top spot. Let's hope the future is brighter for Byju's than the other two companies.

    ➡️ This raise is clearly a feather in the edtech company's hat since it's the first Indian company Bond has invested in. And what a time to invest in the company. The pandemic has clearly been fuel to the company's growth. The company reportedly added added 13.5M+ users in March and April, an boasts 50M+ users on its platform. About 3.5M are paying customers and the company has 85%+ renewal rates. It will be interesting to see how much loyalty the company is able to build during this time.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/anmolm_/status/1276366744936833024

    This post is only for paying subscribers, but it’s ok to forward every once in a while. If you received this as a forward, consider subscribing here 👉🏽 https://keepingupwithindia.com/