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After years of neglect, Snapchat wins in the developing world

After years of neglect, Snapchat wins in the developing world
From TechCrunch - February 6, 2018

Snapchat doubled its Rest of World revenue this quarter. Thats a surprise, considering CEO Evan Spiegel never seemed to care about anyone but U.S. teens. Snapchats Android app was buggy. Its videos loaded too slowly on weak connections. And Spiegel even admitted Historically weve really focused our efforts on markets where [high-end phones and broadband mobile networks] are available.

That left the door wide open for Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status to steal the international market before Snap could arrive. In Q4 2016, Snapchat total users in the Rest of World stayed worryingly flat at 39 million.

But Spiegel changed his tune this year with a massive set of strategy flip-flops. Three months ago he admitted that In order to further scale our user base,we need to accelerate the adoption of our product among Android users . . . and users in the Rest of World markets. This acknowledgement that more than California cool kids like him mattered now appears instrumental to the Second Coming of Snapchat.

Today, Snap Inc. recorded a blockbuster quarter, reviving its growth rate from 2.9 percent to 5 percent as it reached 187 million daily users. Revenue blew away expectations and losses shrank. And the share price soared up 21 percent in response.

Dig a little deeper, though, and its clear where Snapchats renewed strength came from. The developing world.

The Rest of World region added 3 million daily users to reach 47 million, just as many as the European and North American markets despite their larger size. Thats more developing world users than its added in any quarter since the frothy growth days of Q1 2016.

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