YouTube confirmed yesterday that it had reached an agreement to buy Simsim, a two-year-old social e-commerce site in India. The deal is likely to close within the next several weeks.
Simsim is a company that sells products through short films, frequently including influencers. Their videos are available in three languages: Hindi, Tamil, and Bangla.
A Google blog article drew parallels between YouTube and Simsim, indicating a growing focus on making small business digital marketing easier, particularly for micro-influencers with large followings.
“Every day, people come to YouTube to compare products, watch reviews and find recommendations from their favorite creators,” the tech behemoth writes in a blog post, adding that “the simsim app serves as a platform to connect local businesses, influencers and customers.”
According to Google, the acquisition will “help viewers discover and buy products from local businesses.” The acquisition also adds to the company’s ongoing investments in India, the online marketing giant added.
Through the India Digitization Fund, Google pledged $10 billion to the country last year. The subcontinent has also been identified as a potential source of the “next billion users” by the company.
In India, YouTube currently has over 450 million monthly active users.
Simsim is not expected to undergo any immediate modifications and will continue to operate freely. However, because Google has stated that it will “work on ways to showcase simsim offers to YouTube viewers”. YouTube viewers may begin to watch video from the Gurgaon-based business.
Although no financial terms of the acquisition were disclosed, Simsim’s co-founders issued a positive remark, as one might expect from someone who had just been acquired by Google. It says:
We started simsim with the mission of helping users across India shop online with ease, enabled through small sellers and brands showcasing and selling their products using the power of content by trusted influencers.
Being a part of the YouTube and Google ecosystem furthers simsim in its mission. We cannot think of a better ecosystem in which to build simsim, in terms of technology, reach, creator networks and culture. We can’t wait to be part of YouTube and are excited to build simsim within the most admired tech company in the world.
Google’s relationship with India has been tumultuous, with policymakers baffled as to how to rein in the internet behemoth. The country’s Competition Commission ordered a probe into Google’s usage of the Android operating system in its smart televisions last month.
In November of 2020, a new antitrust action against Google was filed in India, this time for the integration of Google Pay with Android.
Sushil Kumar Modi, a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, proposed in March that the country pass laws requiring YouTube and other platforms to compensate local news producers or face forced arbitration.
In the coming years, social commerce — defined as purchasing and selling directly through a social media site like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Twitter — is likely to develop dramatically.
Mesho, a social commerce platform, became a unicorn earlier this year after receiving new money from SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The company was valued at $2.1 billion in this round. It made headlines in 2019 for being the first firm in India to receive Facebook funding.