“Snow” is a new app from South Korea that sends short messages, which disappear in 24 hours. Yes, it has a lot of common features with Snapchat. Yes, it’s probably ‘Asian Snapchat’s clone’. But this app is really taking over Asia.

It was created by Camp Mobile, a subsidiary of Naver. People know this company for the chat app Line. Snow launched in September last year, extending to other countries in November.

According to Digital Trends, it’s now at the top 3 of the App Store chart in China. Overall, for the past year app has got more than 30 million downloads. Not bad for a knockoff.


Snow or Snapchat (Common Features)

  • First two letters (not joking). According to its makers, they mean “Snap Now” and “Something Now”
  • They’ve got similar interfaces. People share photos and videos in chats that disappear within 24 hours
  • Special feed for “Stories”
  • What’s more, one of the most famous animated stickers of Snapchat allows users to vomit rainbows. At the same time, Snow lets users breathe rainbows.

Digital Video Viewer Penetration Worldwide


Why Snow Is That Crazy Popular

  • Snow is intuitive. There’re no hidden features designed to befuddle anyone over 35. Which keeps it cool by making it exclusive.
  • Snow knows its target audience, its preferences and wishes.
  • Stickers and Filters. Snow lets users add bottles of soju, or the Korean liquor. Even pictures of Korean pop stars. Also one of the filters adds a rain of fried chicken, a favorite South Korean nosh. For Japan there are sumo wrestler and sushi filters.

“There are over 700 animated stickers right now, in fact almost 800,” says a spokesperson for Snow. “We add two or more stickers every day. All of them are available for download.”

South Korea has a strong mobile/tech-savvy market. Statistically, 8 of 10 Korean Millennials own a smartphone. This is the demographic Snow is trying to target. It can work out well because of the strong connection with core audience. Its constant feedback gives a chance to modify the app and make it cooler.


Snow. Top Apps In South Korea


China Loves Snow Too

The most significant fact about Snow’s popularity in China is about its competitors. Snapchat is officially blocked in China. Of course, China has a lot of shanzhai (knockoff) apps, for example, FaceU. They are almost the same, but they’re not as high quality as Snow.

Snow also has a sense of humor that’s calibrated to Asian sensibilities. For instance, there’s a watermelon skin helmet and sprouts that grow out of people’s hair, both of which came from Chinese memes.

Wang Lin, Chinese Snow user, says, “I really like how it can make me and all of my friends look good or gross.”

It’s important to say, that the focus of the Snow is more on being a funny camera app than a social network. Even its name on the App Store shows it: “SNOW – Selfie, Motion sticker, Fun camera”. It’s clear, that international social networks probably shouldn’t worry about it.


Special Treatment For China Users

They plan to remove the messaging function in China. They’ll release a new app in the local android app stores called ‘Snow 相机’ (or ‘Snow Camera’). They also plan to remove it from iOS in China too. Right now, people can download apps separately.

China is a different, unique country. So the Snow owners have to change the app if they want to survive in China. Actually, developers are optimistic about its future of the app in China. People use Snow to create photos and videos but prefer to share them on WeChat and Weibo, because they have more friends and followers there. It’s a safer strategy than trying to compete as a messaging app with giants Twitter, Line and Snapchat that are not allowed in the country.

“The rise of China and China’s infatuation with Korean culture breathed new life into Korean start-ups and founders,” noted Mr. Chae, the venture capital investor.

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