Hike, the Made-in-India messaging app, is officially gone: Here’s what happens next

Bill Mount

Hike StickerChat, the messaging app, which was owned by Bharti Enterprises has officially shut down. The news of the messaging service being shut down was first revealed by its founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal on January 6 on Twitter. Now after the WhatsApp controversy, his tweet is going viral. […]

Hike StickerChat, the messaging app, which was owned by Bharti Enterprises has officially shut down. The news of the messaging service being shut down was first revealed by its founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal on January 6 on Twitter. Now after the WhatsApp controversy, his tweet is going viral. The app has been since removed from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

“Today we’re announcing that we will be sunsetting StickerChat in Jan’21. We thank you all for giving us your trust. We wouldn’t be here without you,” Mittal wrote on Twitter.

Users can download their data inside the application. However, the announcement does not mean an end to other apps in development by the company. On the same day, Mittal announced that the company will be focusing on Vibe and Rush, which will use Hike emojis and include minigames. Vibe, for instance, is an invite-only community.

Mittal said that in his tweet that already 1,00,000 people have applied for Vibe. On the other hand, Rush is available for download on iOS and will soon go live on Play Store as well.

Despite an increase in demand for homegrown apps, the reason behind Hike’s shutdown is still unknown. Mittal feels that India won’t have its own messenger as the “global effects are too strong (unless India bans Western companies)”. He also lauded Telegram and Signal for being more user-oriented.

In an earlier interaction with indianexpress.com, Mittal claimed that shared experiences are the future of social while talking Hikeland. The virtual space was earlier a part of Hike. Now, Vibe by Hike will be a rebranded version of Hikeland.

“There’s literally been no innovation in social whatsoever. And we’re sort of stuck with these experiences of the last decade that were built for the 2G world and in some cases built for PC first. We are finally in a place where we can change that, build experiences that are rich, that are joyful, that can potentially put relationships at the centre,” Mittal said.

With Hike shutting down the apps are expected to go live soon this year. Mittal has not given an official date when the two will be made available. He claims that Vibe already has 100,000 people waiting for invites to join the community.

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