Newly-listed Xiaomi and Google are among a slew of investors reportedly looking to invest in an Indian app called Where Is My Train, while Google wants to buy it out for US$30 to 40 million and Xiaomi seeks to make an investment.
Punctuality has always been an issue for Indian train riders, especially when just two months ago, Indian Railways, the national transporter that ferries millions of people on the world’s busiest public transportation network reported a declining punctuality of 65% in the second quarter of this year.
The app, with more than 10 million downloads to date per Indian news outlet Economic Times, provides real-time information on trains but doesn’t depend on the internet or GPS, making it different from the other train tracking apps on the market.
It relies on cell-tower information, source and destination to locate trains to offer a seamless offline integration between Indian Railways and the IRCTC train schedules. The app also has additional features that allow users to check IRCTC seat availability, fares, track PNR status, and even set destination alerts. All of these make the app useful for people living in small towns and cities as it does not require detailed information nor internet access.
– Xiaomi has invested into a bunch of local Indian apps as a strategy to complement its app ecosystem in India, in an aim to make its smartphone stickier for Indian customers
– Xiaomi bills itself as an internet services provider, acquiring a popular app could add an avenue to help it attract new users whom could tapped for other Xiaomi services
– Google involved in the potential deal for pretty much the same reason, expanding its user base, adding new avenues to on-board more users which could be tapped for other Google apps and services
Editor: Nadine Freischlad, Ben Jiang
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