On the heels of Tinder’s launch of a Bumble-like feature in India, which allows women to initiative the conversations, Bumble is today formally announcing its plans for an expansion into India. The company says it has been building up a local team in the region over the past nine months and defining its strategy. The app will be available later this fall, with marketing spend focused on major metropolitan regions.
Given that it’s already October, Bumble’s Indian arrival is only a matter of weeks at this point. While Bumble won’t commit to an exact launch date, it would say that the launch is planned for sometime before the end of the year.
The Indian market is a critical one, given the sizable population of over 1.3 billion and their rapid adoption of mobile devices. It’s been a battleground for device makers, like Apple, Samsung and Chinese brands, and bumped the U.S. to become the world’s second largest smartphone market last fall. All major tech companies are addressing the market as well, with “lite” versions of apps designed to save data, and other India-specific offerings.
In the dating space, it’s been more challenging for apps like Tinder and others, because of India’s traditional approach to dating and courtships, which in the past has involved concerns around parental acceptance, class differences and pre-arranged marriages. But India is changing. The country’s Supreme Court has been overturning colonial-era laws, and recently decriminalized same-sex relations and adultery, for example.
That’s paved the way for a number of dating apps including an extramarital affairs app Gleeden, matchmaking app Wingman, and LGBTQ dating app Grindr, The Economic Times reported.
Tinder, meanwhile, has established itself in the country to become the highest-grossing Android app, according to App Annie data.
For Bumble’s Indian launch, the company is partnering with actor, philanthropist and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra (who also recently became engaged to Nick Jonas.) Chopra had worked with Bumble on the launch of Bumble Bizz, its business networking feature, which arrived last October.
“It’s rare to see a brand with this level of reach and relevance maintain a commitment to their values and mission in a manner that has global impact,” said Chopra, in a statement about her involvement in the Indian launch. “I’ve always believed that investing in women is key to social transformation and economic growth, and in working with Whitney and her team over the past year, I’m inspired by the real, positive change Bumble is creating and I’m proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this movement as a partner,” she added.
The Indian version of Bumble will be available in both Hinglish and Hindi for iOS and Android and will include yet-to-be-announced security features, beyond the photo verification and profile moderation offered today.
The move to launch in India comes at a time when Bumble and Tinder are head-to-head in a bitter rivalry. Bumble is now suing Tinder parent Match Group over fraudulently obtaining trade secrets, and Match is suing Bumble over patent infringement. The two companies have been unable to work out these differences and are headed to court.