The search giant is in talks to buy startup ShareChat in a deal that could be worth slightly more than $1 billion, according to a report from India’s Economic Times. For comparison, ShareChat was valued at $650 million in a 2019 funding round.
Following strong 2020 growth, ShareChat claims to have more than 160 million monthly active users (MAUs) for its core app. In addition, the company recently launched a short-form video app called Moj, around the time that TikTok was banned in India. Moj is said to have amassed more than 80 million MAUs in less than five months.
ShareChat’s core app lets users share videos and other content through both a core feed and groups that feature chat rooms and cater to various interests. The app’s support for 15 Indian languages has contributed to its growth.
Google, meanwhile, has had its share of well-known social media stumbles over the years, going back to the failure of Google+ nearly a decade ago. In theory, buying ShareChat would give the company a fresh shot at being a prominent social media player -- in one major market, that is.
In July, Google promised to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years. And not long afterwards, the company announced it would invest $4.5 billion in top Indian mobile carrier Jio Platforms, which has also received investments from Facebook (FB) - Get Report and other U.S. tech companies this year, for a 7.73% stake.
In contrast with China, where Google’s consumer services are largely banned, platforms such as Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Pay and Google’s version of Android all claim massive user bases within India. That in turn gives Google a major springboard for expanding into adjacent markets within the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Alphabet’s Class A and Class C shares are up about 1.4% in Tuesday trading, amid a 1% gain for the Nasdaq. Shares are up over 30% year-to-date.