Hike founder
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Hike StickerChat, India’s answer to Facebook owned WhatsApp, has officially been shut down and removed from the Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. On January 6, Kavin Bharti Mittal, the founder announced the news, while giving no clarity as to why the company is shutting down its service.

Nevertheless, the company is all set to replace Hike Messenger with Vibe and Rush (a bite sized gaming service) as both will be available for download on both Android and iOS platform. Mittal also intends to continue to use the most successful parts of Hike into the new platforms, which are its various stickers and emojis catering cater to the younger population in India.

Mittal described opportunities in building virtual worlds as a “much better approach for today’s world that is unconstrained by cheap, fast data and powerful smartphones.”

Earlier this month, he had said that India cannot have an indigenous messaging services, since “Global effects are too strong.” According to Mittal, for an Indian messaging app to flourish, the government has to ban Western companies from operating in the nation.

Another aspect heavily influencing the decision of Hike is the mounting outrage against WhatsApp’s new policy of reserving the right to share user data with the broader Facebook network. While WhatsApp is losing users rapidly, its competitors including Signal and Telegram have added tens of millions of users in recent weeks. However, Hike was not able to gain the same love from the masses, and its userbase has barely grown despite the changing landscape of the market.

Signal, which is run on a not-for-profit basis, added over 30 million installations just this month.