What has 30 million users, hilarious filters that turn you into a sushi roll and messages that self destruct? It's not Snapchat.
Welcome to Snow, the hottest app to come out of South Korea and it's giving Snapchat a run for its money.
So what that Snow just happens to clone the major features of the hugely successful visual messaging app Snapchat. Challenging Snapchat by superceding a couple of it's major features, Snow offers users an array of filters - many of them with Asia-centric themes like sumo wrestlers or the Harijuku girl that appeal to the huge Asian market. It also boasts over a hundred selfie filters - about 85 more than Snapchat. That makes it almost irresistible in our current selfie obsessed culture.
Users who are able to take advantage of both apps say that Snapchat is definitely more 'vibrant' but that Snow serves a niche which is growing exponentially. The fellow in this video uses both apps but loves the freebie filters at Snow more. He also mentions that the Korean-centric stickers are waaaay cuter. Check it out.
Another compelling reason to get the Snow app is that users can instantly share their videos and snaps across other social media platforms, most notably Instagram, a feature that Snapchat sorely ignores.
Snow's enormous following in Asia partially has to do with the fact that Snapchat is banned in China. For the time being, it doesn't seem that Snapchat, the biggest social network success out of America in recent years, has figured out how to get around this problem or enter that demographic in any significant way. A recent NYT article goes on to note that the success of Snow indicates that any original advantage the US based app may have had in East Asia’s vast and lucrative markets is fading.
In the tech world, the dream of every start up is to go global, which till recently basically meant being big in the Western World. China's meteoric rise and strong economy seems to be changing that mind set quickly, especially where Korean technology is concerned. The Chinese market is infinitely bigger than the US market and as one Korean venture capitalist says, much more welcoming to Korean culture than the western world ever was. It's no wonder that US based app makers are scrambling to push ahead in the game.
Who knows if Snow will catch on stateside but there's only one way to find out. The apps' primary user demographic is teenagers and young adults and is currently available on iOS and Android, for free.