In a 6,000 word memo to staff, Evan Spiegel, Founder and CEO at Snap Inc., has highlighted how the company will be looking to target growth in developing markets, including Afrika. Part of Snap's plan of growing their number of users in developing markets like Afrika is through redesigning their Android app through a project code-named "Mushroom."
"We already have many projects underway to unlock our core product value in new markets. Mushroom allows our community to use Snapchat on lower-end devices. Arroyo, our new gateway architecture, will speed up messaging and many other services. Our engineering teams are constantly thinking about how to make Snapchat faster. Deepening our moat outside of our core markets will require a different approach because in some cases there are structural disadvantages. For example, in some countries other social media companies subsidize the data usage for their products while Snapchat users have to pay for their data use. That makes it hard for Snapchat to be the fastest way to communicate because people have to consider the cost before they send a Snap," wrote Spiegel.
Snap's competitors in Afrika
Spiegel is correct in observing that the key to gaining more users in Afrika, and other developing markets, is through a lightweight Android app given how cost conscious users mostly are. As Spiegel has admitted in the memo, Snapchat's current Android app is almost unusable on low-end Android phones as well as on low speed Internet connections.
As a result of Snapchat somehow neglecting Afrika and other developing markets, WhatsApp and Instagram have become the de-facto replacements (as far as some key features are concerned) for Spiegel's platform with each individually having more active users than Snapchat.
The question though is whether users will use Snapchat as soon as it rolls out it's more "Afrika-friendly" Android app or not.
We'll have to wait and see.
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