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Why the Snapchat CEO called India “poor”

Being in the Media industry, it is our duty to bring light and clarification to issues that deserve it.

Snapchat has had tons of users, even higher than Facebook at one point (in the US) for certain demographics. It also has a very big userbase in countries like India where it is one of the most common apps for teens and millennials. However, yesterday some quotes surfaced from the CEO, Evan Spiegel which enraged many Indians, till the extent people started deleting the apps and gave it bad reviews on the App market (You can have a look  yourself; content too offensive to post here)

“This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”

This information came out when one of his employees reported it, from a conversation in 2015. This could just be an allegation. While yes, it does seem poorly worded at first, here’s what it actually means:

  • This quote is from 2015, back when smartphone penetration wasn’t high, and Jio didn’t exist. Thus user density was low
  • The app is around to make money (surprise!). Snapchat makes money by Geofilters and Content partners. Both of these aren’t widely used in India. So, when we don’t use it for actual business towards their revenue, we aren’t top priority to them in terms of users. Hence, “poor”
  • Another important part of Business is knowing your target demographic. Simply put, India isn’t the perfect demo for them to do business in.
  • Other products, like Snapchat spectacles aren’t available yet in India, which is a direct way for them to make money.

By poor, he must have meant a country which doesn’t have a share of wallet towards Snapchat, which is not wrong. So why shouldn’t they prioritize areas that are of higher value to them?

They have stated in their IPO, that iOS is of higher preference to them, over Android. Do you see all Androiders feeling bad and uninstalling the app and giving bad reviews?  As long as your user experience doesn’t change, you shouldn’t really be complaining under the pretext of patriotism. Could Evan have used better words? Yes. Could Indians have been a little more tolerant? Hell yes! Do your research and share this article to people who are mad at Evan.

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