Photographs — no, selfies — are taking over the world. Oh, and by the way, with this app, you can’t type ‘LOL’ with a straight face anymore.
US-based selfie messenger app React, which is still in open beta, today launched its offerings in Japan, a country which led the world in various trends in self-portraiture, including this recent shaking head fad.
‘Selfies’, however, is not a passing fad, said Pedro Wunderlich, Co-founder, React. He explained, “Selfies aren’t new. They’ve been around ever since cameras existed. ‘Selfie’ is just a marketing term that caught fire recently. And for us, it’s easier to explain to someone that we’re a “selfie messenger” than a “chat with real-time facial expressions”.
He also explained the idea of a real-time facial expression-based chat, “Nothing transmits emotion like your eyes, and your facial expression around them. That’s why expressing yourself with a selfie is so natural (albeit, awkward sometimes). The most intimate, most effective way to communicate is face-to-face. This isn’t a fad nor something people get bored with—it’s how we’re wired to communicate.”
Wunderlich first started work on React in November 2012. The app was then launched in December 2013. To date, it has 200,000 beta users, and has a retention rate of 15 per cent to 20 per cent. In addition, it has seen 70 per cent of its total user base come from Indonesia, followed by Brazil and the US.
He shared, “Indonesia has been a great market for learning, but unfortunately, (it is) a very Android-dominated market.” Currently, the app is only available on iOS, even though an Android version is well under way. “So for now, our growth potential is extremely limited,” he said.
He also believes that Japan is a “perfect market” for an app like React, given the youths’ obsession with selfies, emoticons and stickers.
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