The government of India on Wednesday said that it was aware of Chinese investment in desi social media app Koo's parent company. In a written reply in Lok Sabha, the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology said that the investments had been made under the extant FDI Policy and that the Koo app had been developed Indian IT company prior to policy changes.
"As per the details provided by the company that has developed the app, it has been indigenously developed and app data is completely stored in India in its servers located in Mumbai. Being an Indian company with operations within the country, it has to adhere to all the existing data privacy and security regulations of the Government," the Reply added.
In recent weeks, as Twitter clashed with the Indian authorities and the push for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat intensified, a new social media had emerged. The Koo app is a Made In India alternative to Twitter which will allow people to express themselves in Indian languages. Within a few days, thousands including Union Ministers and official government handles had joined the platform.
Endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the winner of the August 2020 AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge held by the Government, the app is similar to Twitter. While sticking to the trend of having an avian logo, Koo features a yellow chick with a sketch of the Indian flag above it.
But even as its popularity grew, critics pounced upon the fact that the company behind the app was linked to a Chinese company. For the uninitiated, China's Shunwei Capital had until recently held a minor stake in Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Vokal and Koo. The Chinese company had invested around 2.5 years ago while Bombinate Technologies was raising funds for Vokal.
As per a PTI report from Wednesday, former cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamat.