[INTERVIEW] Snapchat aims to improve its presence in Korea

Asia's Tech News Daily

[INTERVIEW] Snapchat aims to improve its presence in Korea

A Google Pixel 6 phone user uses Snap’s photo messaging app, Snapchat. Courtesy of Snap

By Baek Byung-yeul

[INTERVIEW] Snapchat aims to improve its presence in Korea

Nana Murugesan, managing director of international markets at Snap / Courtesy of Snap

U.S. tech company Snap is one of the strong players in the social network service (SNS) market with its photo messaging platform, Snapchat.

Nana Murugesan, managing director of international markets at Snap, said the company aims to improve its presence in Korea by closely cooperating with Samsung Electronics, which has the largest share, over 70 percent, of the country’s smartphone market, and by strengthening its marketing here.

“We partnered with Samsung on a feature called ‘Fun Mode’, which lets users access Snapchat Lenses directly in the native camera of Samsung A Series phones,” the managing director said in an email interview with The Korea Times, Oct. 21.

“Today, we work closely with various Android OEM device makers whose smartphones our community is on. We have pre-install distribution partnerships with several Global Android OEM device makers, including Samsung,” he added.

Snapchat is not as popular as other messaging platforms, such as Kakao Talk, Facebook or Instagram here, but Murugesan said, “South Korea is an important and a growing market for us and we have found that our core product value resonates with the region. We will be making efforts to ensure that Snapchat feels made for our South Korean community.”

To make more people use Snapchat more conveniently, the company announced that Google’s brand new smartphone, the Pixel 6, will feature “Quick Tap to Snap,” a camera-only version of Snapchat, directly accessible from the phone’s lock screen. Through the partnership with Google, users can capture moments quickly before they disappear by simply tapping the back of the phone.

Murugesan said that the partnership was the result of the importance Snap puts on how fast users can access its app and use the service.

“First, Snap’s on-Snapchat OEM Strategy ― like ‘Quick Tap to Snap’ with Google ― make using Snapchat easier, faster and more engaging than ever, with systems and hardware-level integrations. We also work with the leading Android OEMs and carriers around performance optimization to make the Snapchat app and camera work as best as possible, and pre-installs (preloads), including on Samsung and other leading Android OEMs, to make the Snapchat app as accessible as possible,” he said.

One of the core reasons for Snapchat’s success is its augmented reality (AR) lens service. Since 2015, Snapchat introduced AR lenses, the filters of which allow people to use special effects, such as vomiting rainbows or posing together with popular movie characters.

The company said that its AR service is used every day by over 200 million people, according to its 2020 fourth-quarter data, and nearly 2 million lenses have been created with Lens Studio, available across Snapchat, Snap Camera, Spectacles and Camera Kit.

Murugesan said that with advances in camera hardware and AR technology, Snap will be able to provide more diverse AR services.

“Snapchat is built around the camera. Historically, cameras were used for just documenting moments ― capturing a scene exactly as it is, for the purpose of viewing it later in time. But now, through developments in hardware and software, we can do a lot more than just capture a scene with the Snapchat Camera,” he said.

“We can understand, interpret, edit, and augment it in real time ― which can empower Snapchatters and partners to express themselves and be creative, and also learn about the world and get things done. For example, using our AR technology, the Snapchat Camera can now solve math equations, scan food labels to find reviews and prices, help you try on clothing and makeup, tell you the name of the song you are listening to, the possibilities are endless,” the executive added.

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