The Iranian government is putting all its effort and capacity to help the locally developed messaging apps to lift off from the ground. Iran’s Vice Presidency for Science and Technology has announced that the government will give out grants to eligible local messaging app companies with a considerable number of users.
The presence of foreign messaging apps in Iran has been a hot topic in the past year. A few months ago Iran Supreme Council of Cyberspace announced new regulations and guidelines for messaging apps that want to officially operate in Iran. According to this new set of rules, foreign messaging apps that move their servers into the country will get the government support. Also, foreign messaging apps with over 50% of equity owned by Iranians and a registered company in Iran will be considered as local messaging apps.
Telegram, as the most popular messaging app in Iran with over 17 million users only on Cafe Bazaar was previously asked to move its servers to the country, but has not responded to this request in time. Meanwhile local messaging apps were unable to compete in this market and acquire a considerable number of users. That’s when the rumors about KakaoTalk, VK and WeChat entering the Iranian market started to circle around. Apparently these messaging app companies are finding local partners to get the support of the government.
But the government had previously set incentive policies for local messaging apps with a specific number of users. These incentives included the support of the government by advertising on these apps or a license to have banking and eGovernment services. Aside from that, if an app has over 5 million users, the government would connect them to the telecommunications network and treat them as an operator, a license which costs around 300 million Euros.
Now, as the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology has announced, the government will give out grants to eligible local messaging app companies with a considerable number of users.
•Local messaging apps with over 1 million active users will receive 1 billion Tomans grant (around $260k) from the government.
•Local messaging apps that their number of users increases from 1 million to 2 million will receive another 1 billion Tomans grant.
•Local messaging apps that reach to 5 million active users will receive another 1 billion Tomans grant.
Considering these new incentive policies and the previous stimulants, the government is giving away million dollar grants to eligible recipients in order to lead users towards high-quality apps.
What’s your take on this announcement? Do you think these grants could actually help the local messaging apps to thrive?