Here’s fuel to a glow for those who trust that Facebook will buy anything that looks, smells or moves like Snapchat. The U.S. amicable networking hulk this summer done an catastrophic bid to acquire Snow, a Snapchat-like use from Naver, a $25 billion-valued Korean firm behind chat app Line, a source tighten to a association told TechCrunch.
Snow now has around 80 million downloads, and it is adding around 10 million some-more any month, according to a source. That expansion has also speedy merger seductiveness from Tencent — a builder of blockbuster discuss app WeChat — Alibaba and others, TechCrunch understands.
“It’s loyal that Snow is receiving adore calls from several companies,” a deputy from Naver told us in a statement. Despite acknowledging outward interest, Naver did not name Snow’s would-be suitors.
Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.
The app initial grabbed courtesy in the summer when it raced adult Android and iOS app store rankings in Korea, Japan and China, collecting some 30 million downloads. A underline story from The New York Times in July, that explained that Snow and Naver were exploiting Snapchat’s apparent lack of seductiveness in Asia, usually served to worsen recognition of a app.
Sometime after that story, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got breeze of Snow and contacted Naver Chairman Hae-Jin Lee over a phone with an offer to acquire it. Naver saw Line lift over $1 billion in a twin Japan-U.S. IPO in Jul of this year, and Lee deserted Facebook’s overtures since he believes Snow has a intensity to become a identical success.
Indeed, Naver strengthened ties between the dual services in Sep when Line done a $45 million investment in Snow that gave a amicable app a gratefulness of $180 million — not bad for a one-year-old project. With Line struggling to grow a userbase outside of a largest markets of Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, Snow is noticed as a pivotal fan that could assistance a discuss app enlarge a interest in some-more tools of Asia.
While it is easy to tag Snow as a Snapchat clone, a app does have some differentiated features.
For one thing, Naver has worked tough to focus a use in markets, many a same approach as it did with Line when a discuss app emerged in 2011-2012. Most notably, it is operative with celebrities in Korea and Japan, where it sees a many traction and potential, to underline their stories prominently inside a app alongside live streams, too. That helps inspire users behind into a app for some-more reasons than simply to summary their friends, while it also might clear monetize options in a future.
The app itself has over 36 filters and some-more than 200 masks, charity extremely some-more customization options than Snapchat — a pierce that is in line with appealing to a core assembly in Asia. Some options embody filters for both images and videos that engage celebrities, animation characters, fairies and even one stage as a inebriated ‘salary man’ creation a toast.
Snapchat — now only ‘Snap’ — is widely reported to be gearing adult for an IPO subsequent year that could value a association during around $25 billion. The latest idea is that it could lift $4 billion from a listing.
Those total positively vindicate CEO Evan Spiegel’s preference to reject a $3 billion bid from Facebook 3 years ago — even if required knowledge during a time suggested he was creation a mistake.
It is still early days for Snow, and it stays to be seen either this will be another app that Facebook will charity blank out on over time.
For now, Facebook is perplexing to spin a possess properties into Snapchat-like competitors regulating complicated doses of ‘product inspiration’.
Instagram Stories, a underline that a association admits is desirous by Snapchat, reached a really important 100 million users within dual months, while Facebook has launched smaller projects that embody a amicable video app that’s only for teens, a Snapchat-like camera feature, and a sincerely blatant Snapchat counterpart that is being tested in Poland.
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