Introducing Snow, a relatively new but ultra-popular app that has taken over Asia. While it originates in South Korea, it has been widely adopted in Thailand, Japan and, of course, China.
Snow has been called a “blatant” copy of Snapchat, its popularity no doubt helped by the fact that its American rival is blocked in China. Snapchat’s loss has turned out to be Snow’s gain.
The New York Times reports that Snow has received a whopping 30 million downloads in Asia since its launch last September.
Snow refers to its mode of communication as “snaps,” a term originally coined by Snapchat. Just like its counterpart, Snow enables you to share short videos with friends and family which self-destruct after being viewed.
Both apps offer you a collection of stickers to help you add a little something extra to your messages. The layout of the page is identical, with only the stickers offered varying from one app to the other. That’s Snow on the left and Snapchat on the right.
Snow has also borrowed the well-known puppy dog screen. The picture above depicts Snow’s puppy dog screen on the left vs. Snapchat on the right.
Unlike Snapchat, however, with Snow it is possible to send GIFs in an infinite loop. And while Snapchat only offers roughly 10 screens at a time (which change up frequently), Snow has a vast selection of screens you can play around with.
With a filter that can transform you from a fried egg, to koala, to a man smeared with face paint, Snow apparently has it all.
For those in the technology industry, Snow’s success is challenging the paradigm that American startups can launch an app and easily gain market share abroad.
“A lot of startups are thinking if they build a product, they’ll be able to go global, but that’s just not the case anymore,” said Tim Chae, a partner at 500 Startups who heads a venture capital fund investing in Korean startups.
No more painfully has this lesson been learnt than in the Chinese market, where the likes of WeChat and Weibo have stolen a march on WhatsApp and Twitter, in no small part to the government doing its best to keep out the competition.
By Robin Winship