ByteDance makes its remote-work app Lark free in India

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, ByteDance owned-Lark Technologies made its digital collaboration suite free in India as it competes with incumbent players – all of which are vying for increased business in the locked-down country.

Lark is a platform for collaboration that brings together tools, including Messenger, Online Docs and Sheets, Cloud Storage, Calendar, and Video Conferencing. It is said to have combined elements of Slack, Dropbox, Google Docs and Skype.

Lark launched in India in August last year, and have clients across retail, manufacturing, IT services, logistics, and education.

“The enterprise market is maturing. With an increased pie, there is space for everyone. We are confident that our pricing is competitive,” said Vinay Bhartia, Lark Head, India. “There are a large number of companies that are in the early technology adoption stage. Many startups use free versions of multiple apps. We are focusing on small and medium-sized businesses. It is a big segment for us.”

The global market for collaborative apps grew from $14.8 billion in 2018 to $16.5 billion last year, according to IDC data.

Downloads of video conferencing and office productivity apps such as Zoom, Tencent Conference, WeChat Work, Microsoft Teams and Slack have also seen a manifold increase in downloads since the onset of the virus globally once governments imposed social distancing norms.

The company said it extended free service to educational institutes including, schools, colleges and coaching classes across India, enabling remote working between teachers and students that will effectively and rapidly manage workflow.

Lark's free version comes with unlimited video calls (with advanced screen sharing), 200GB of cloud storage, online collaborative docs and sheets, a calendar, a messenger, unlimited third-party app integrations, and customizable attendance/approval workflows.