Twitter led the latest $100 million round in an Indian social media app ShareChat, according to a TechCrunch report over the weekend, as the social media giant looks to compete with Facebook’s WhatsApp in the Indian market.

Twitter faces tough competition in India. WhatsApp has 400 million active monthly users in India as of July 2019, compared to Twitter’s 34.4 million users. Facebook and Whatsapp combined are the top two social media platforms in the country.

Despite India being WhatsApp’s top market, ShareChat differentiates itself by allowing users to chat in their regional languages, according to a Business of Apps report. There are 22 official regional languages in India, and only 10% of Indians speak English. Founded in 2015, ShareChat allows users to converse and share videos, pictures and quotes. 

For Twitter, this presents a chance to increase its number of users and engagement at a lower cost, as it’s facing slowing growth and regulatory scrutiny at home.

“India has a high digital tax and so for Twitter to individually enter the market would be hard,” Andrew Silverman, a Bloomberg Business Intelligence analyst told Karma. “ShareChat wouldn’t face a high domestic tax, and so this is an opportunity for Twitter to become a domestic competitor.”

  • Twitter had 330 million active monthly users globally by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
  • Mark Beal, a professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication, told Karma: “With Twitter’s stagnancy amongst youngsters and Gen Z, this is an opportunity for them to engage with consumers in all different languages.”
  • Karma’s Takeaway: With its funding of regional-language chatting app ShareChat, Twitter is striving to compete with Facebook and leading social media platforms in major global markets.