Xiaomi may back local app ShareChat

Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi and its founder Lei Jun’s venture capital fund Shunwei Capital are in final stages of investing more than Rs 120 crore in local language social networking platform ShareChat, people close to the matter said.
This is only the second round of funding for the Bengaluru-based app, which has emerged as one of the buzziest startups targeting the vernacular speaking internet users outside of the top cities.
ShareChat, available only on Android phones, supports eight regional languages with English conspicuously missing as an option. The app claims to have 1.3 million daily active users and 4.2 million monthly active users and has been on the radar for a bunch of venture investors.
If the funding from Xiaomi comes through, it will add to the Chinese company’s strategic bets here in India after its investments in Hungama Digital Media and Mech Mocha, a gaming startup. All of these are aimed to help the mobile maker embed content on to its devices to offer a richer experience to consumers.
“The term sheet (a document which outlines the terms and conditions of a deal) was signed a few weeks ago. The investment should formally close soon,” a person in the know of the talks said on the condition of anonymity . Another sources said the deal is likely to value the two-year-old company at Rs 400-500 crore. Queries sent to ShareChat co-foun der & CEO Farid Ah san and Xiaomi did not elicit a response. Founded by 25-year-old IIT Kanpur graduates, ShareChat has kept itself away from the top rung of English-speaking internet users who use platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Ahsan told TOI in a recent interaction that they were on a mission to capture the next billion internet users who will come from the smaller cities and rural India.”This is a young and aspirational set of population which is coming on to the internet now on the back of cheap smartphones and easy availability of mobile data. They are very different from people in the big cities who have been using emails and social media for almost a decade. We want to cater to this fast growing group of users,” he said.
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