Snap is inviting developers to its Snapchat platform

Snap is inviting developers to build slimmed-down versions of their own apps into its Snapchat platform, in the clearest move yet by a western social media group to emulate the popular Chinese “superapp” model. The Los Angeles-based company on Thursday announced the launch of “Snap Minis”, whereby developers will be able to build simplified versions of their apps within the main Snapchat app that users can access without having to leave the platform. In doing so, Snap, which has more than 229 million daily active users, is shifting closer towards the model of so-called superapps such as WeChat, whereby users can message each other but also buy products, send payments or book taxis, all in one place.WeChat’s parent, Tencent, is a major Snap investor, having built a 12 per cent stake in the company in 2017… The moves come as Snap, like other online platforms whose main source of revenue comes from advertising, is battling to return to its pre-pandemic pace of growth after its small business clients were hit by the crisis and cut back on their marketing spend. Snap said it was not charging apps who become “minis” to be on the platform, nor taking any cut of transactions made for their services, suggesting the move had initially been designed to encourage increased engagement rather than generate new revenue streams directly. 

Hannah Murphy