Snap tops 100 million users in India, partners with Flipkart and Android smartphone vendors

Snap said today it has amassed 100 million monthly active users in India, an impressive feat in the key overseas market where Facebook and Google reach over half a billion people, and is inking deals with a range of firms including Android smartphone vendors, entertainment TV channels Sony and Zee TV and e-commerce giant Flipkart to make further inroads in the world’s second-largest internet market.

At a virtual event on Wednesday, Snap co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel shared the milestone, highlighting some of the company’s localization efforts that have helped to make inroads in India. The milestone and scores of partnerships today mark Snap’s major shift in strategy for the Indian market, where until two to three years ago it had a limited presence and relevance. (Snap has over 500 million monthly active users worldwide.)

The company has cracked India in recent years after it improved its Android app. More than 98% of smartphones in India run Android. Snap appointing Durgesh Kaushik as its head for the India business has also significantly helped the firm develop and improve relationships with local creators and businesses, many of them have told TechCrunch in recent quarters.

“We have made significant investments to localize the Snapchat experience for the Indian community. We have added culturally relevant content, developed highly active and creative local creator communities and invested in local products, marketing initiatives and language support,” said Spiegel at the event.

“Following these efforts to bring a localized experience to Indian Snapchatters, we now reach 100 million Snapchatters monthly in India. We will continue to anchor our efforts around celebrating local culture and talent, while empowering, growing and providing resources for our community of Indian creators.”

At the company’s second annual event for India, Snap also announced a number of partnerships it has inked to accelerate its growth in the country. It has formed a “strategic partnership” with Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart to develop AR experiences. The company said this is the first time it has formed a partnership of this kind with an e-commerce firm.

“Through this partnership, shoppers will be able to begin their shopping and e-commerce engagement journey through Snapchat AR, making the process easy from the comfort of their homes!” the company said.

Snap has also partnered with India’s Sugar Cosmetics and MyGlamm, both of which will now adopt Snap’s AR shopping beta program to offer virtual beauty and makeup try-on experiences to customers.

“Augmented reality is at the core of Snapchat’s offerings in India. Our efforts to stay culturally relevant and offer unique AR experiences have resonated with 100 million Indian Snapchatters. We have worked towards empowering students and youth with essential AR Skills through workshops and Lensathons,” said Bobby Murphy, Snap co-founder and chief technology officer, at the event. “We aim to partner with more local creators in India to grow the number of incredible experiences available to Snapchatters. At Snap, our intent is to make AR more accessible, useful and practical than ever before.”

In another India-first initiative, Snap said it has partnered with all top Android original equipment manufacturers (or Android vendors) that together have an install base of over 100 million devices in the country. These firms will pre-install the Snapchat app on their devices. There’s also a partnership with Samsung to offer a “Fun Mode” to bring some of Snap’s AR-powered Lenses to Samsung’s India-focused M Series of smartphones.

The company also released a number of Creator Shows including “What’s On My Plate” featuring Anushka Sen and Vir Das and “The Most Epic Max Show” and said it is commissioning 120 episodes of new content overall in India for the next year.

The company said its Discover section has become very popular in India. The section features content from 70 local Indian channels across news, fashion, entertainment and comedy. It’s now planning to populate the app with even more curated content it said, announcing tie-ups with leading entertainment channels such as Sony Entertainment Television and Zee TV.

The company said its India business has also rapidly expanded its monetisation capabilities to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It saw an increase of net new advertisers by 70% last year and has worked with firms such as Spotify, Swiggy, LG, OnePlus and ITC Yippee Noodles.