Many American investors were excited to get in on the Snap Inc SNAP 2.82% IPO last week. With more than 158 million daily active users, Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms in the United States. However, at the moment, the single largest global market is the world is off-limits.
The Chinese government has banned domestic use of a number of popular American apps, including Snapchat. But that ban doesn’t mean Chinese citizens aren’t snapping and chatting like the rest of us.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA 0.15%, which invested $200 million in Snap back in 2015, also owns DianDianChong, an app that features disappearing messages and a feature that is extremely similar to Snapchat’s lenses. DianDianChong even sports a familiar bright yellow logo.
In addition to DianDianChong, Japanese company Line Corp (ADR) LN 0.26% holds a nearly 50 percent stake in a South Korean Snapchat clone called Snow. Line’s recent $45 million investment in Snow values the company at around $207 million compared to Snap’s $24.8 billion market cap. Snow currently has 40 million–50 million active users, less than a third of Snapchat’s audience. Snow’s app also features familiar face filters and disappearing messages.
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