Snapchat hasn’t really taken off in Korea as Instagram has. The main reason for this is the SNOW app. SNOW is a beauty and makeup camera app in Korea that is used by Koreans instead of Snapchat. The app allows users to edit images or videos emojis, real-time beauty effects, funny costumes, and innovative GIF makers. If this sounds very similar to Snapchat, well it is. However, SNOW has been able to market its product and service to Asian users. For example, SNOW offers Korean products such as soju and K-pop stars. Similarly, SNOW changes its add ons based on the country in which the user is located. For example, in Japan, the SNOW app will offer sake and Sumo wrestlers.

Snapchat’s lack of knowledge around the Korean market allowed SNOW to take its place. In fact, in 2017 Snapchat did not have a single office in Asia. Instead, they hired freelancers to develop local-language versions of Snapchat for the Asian market. This clearly did not work. SNOW was able to focus mainly on the fun entertainment aspect of the camera effects rather than turning SNOW into a viable social networking platform. Currently, SNOW has just as many monthly users as the popular dating app Bumble! In addition, on the Apple App Store, SNOW has a rating of above 4.2 compared to Snapchat which has a rating of 3.8.

SNOW – Best Camera App in Korea

SNOW Camera App in KoreaThe interface of SNOW is very similar to that of Snapchat. SNOW allows users to chat, set up stories for their friends to see, and use the SNOW filters. The filters are what many use SNOW far. What Koreans love about SNOW is its AR emoji feature. This allows users to overlay their faces with effects or even characters. In addition, SNOW offers tons of original lenses along with lenses similar to what you would find on Snapchat.

AR features

How does it work? The camera analyzes the user’s face then masks it with the add-on. The add-on will be able to mimic your facial expressions. SNOW also features a cool GIF mode that can easily be shared on social media platforms.

There are also beauty and makeup features to overlay onto your existing photos or in real-time through your camera. Therefore, users are allowed to be creative while also bringing that cute factor that Koreans love.

The Rise of SNOW in Korea

SNOW became very popular back in 2017 as Koreans showed off SNOW’s effects during a night out drinking with friends. Korea is well known for its strong drinking culture. As word of mouth spread about this fun/cute app, SNOW’s popularity started to grow. Soon Korean celebrities and Kpop stars started to use SNOW on television and through their social media accounts such as Facebook, Line, Twitter, and Instagram.

Koreans were now sharing all their recent SNOW videos and stories with their friends. These videos and stories can only be viewed by friends for a short period of time before it disappears.

More than a camera app in Korea

SNOW has been able to get a $50 million investment from SoftBank and Sequoia China. Their focus for 2021 will be to further develop its AR and facial recognition software and partner with more K-pop groups like they did with BTS and Twice. Currently, the SNOW app has over 250 million users to date. However, to keep up the innovation, SNOW also has focused on Avatars.

SNOW’s Avatar App Zepeto

Avatar Camera App ZepetoSNOW has an avatar app called Zepeto which already has over 150 million registered users (10 million active users) after launching back in 2019. Most of the users come from China. The app renders selfies onto animated avatars. Therefore users can have computer-generated avatars that look like them. The app has a social networking platform where the avatars can interact with other avatars in virtual spaces similar to the popular game The Sims. In order to monetize Zepeto, SNOW will look to incorporate the selling of virtual items, spaces, and even upgrade features. So far, Zepeto has made $10 million from 600 million pieces of virtual items sold through its platform.

Zepeto also launched a virtual marketplace called Zepeto Studio, where third-party artists can sell their virtual items such as clothes and accessories. Therefore you will be able to see branded virtual items from global brands such as Nike and Disney. In addition, there are independent designers in Korea that are making a decent living creating and selling virtual items on Zepeto Studio