HomeAppsWhy the Snapchat CEO called India “poor”

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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  • Prem Raval

    Woah… This was the most convincing logical reasoning on this matter.

  • Karthik Krishna

    Lol.. seriously get ur information in place dude.. 2015 smartphone penetration in india was not there??.. in 2014, Flipkart and Amazon tried to go all Mobile app in india cause 20% (200 million) of the population had smartphones.. That’s more than the population of most countries!

    Anyways that doesn’t matter, how a company wants to expand is their strategy.. but to think that public comments have no repercussions is stupid! Especially a public company.. look at how US reacted to the statement from United CEO!
    That was the matter of one individual not a nation!

    And tolerance towards a comment on a nation cannot be generalized!! Everyone has the right to their opinion on that subject.. it’s not like he commented on one Indian or one city of india!

    U need to mature a lot before u can write articles on such subjects!

    • The statement is not yet confirmed, the author above has explicitly mentioned that this is a mere allegation and not a ‘public statement’. As far as ‘smartphone penetration’ is concerned, back in 2015 India hardly contributed to Snapchat’s user base. In fact, even today Snapchat’s revenue from India is nil.

      • Karthik Krishna

        Yup the statement is not verified but the debate is not regarding that.. it’s about the justification of people’s reactions if the statement was true..
        Snapchat revenue figures do not speak of the general “smartphone penetration ” of the country which the author mentioned or the financial capability of the smartphone users in india..
        My wife works for amazon US and the focus by amazon is largest in india than any other country by far.. what does that say!
        In the end, Like I said earlier, Every company can have its own strategy but that does not mean a possible public statement won’t have repercussions!

        • I reiterate, it is not a public statement. It is an internal alleged statement. As far as the penetration is concerned, Amazon and Snapchat maybe internet companies, but their demographics are far apart. Comparing the usage of an e-commerce marketplace with a youth oriented social network is completely different.

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