Four years ago, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel made the controversial statement that the app was only for rich countries and India was too “poor” for his company to consider investing in. Since then, the South Asian country has become one of the largest markets in terms of user base for Snapchat and as of April 2022, India had the largest Snapchat base in the world with over 144.35 million users.

Now, its parent company Snap is looking to get on the more arduous task — monetise at least a portion of that massive userbase in India. And it is doing that, with the launch of a premium version of its service, Snapchat+, in the country. This makes India the latest country to get the paid subscription plan after the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others that were included in the launch in late June.

What makes the launch of Snapchat+ in India stand out from the rolling out in other countries is the slashed down pricing. While Snapchat+ is available at $3.99 (₹317) per month for other countries, Indian users can avail all of the same premium and exclusive features for just ₹49 ($0.62) per month. They can also use the social networking platform on the web and video chat with friends.

It is evident that this is an attempt by Snap to monetize its user base in the country and attract other users with lucrative premium features. This is an understandable — if desperate — move, and Snap is aware that it will be losing out on many more prospective users if it did not roll out the subscription at a nominal fee. However, that goes with the fact, that online companies have found it extremely difficult to extract sizeable revenue from the world’s second largest internet market.

In a statement, Lakshya Malu, Interim – Market Development Lead, Snap, said, “India is an important market for Snap, and investments in localizing the app experience has been key to our growth in the region. We’re very excited about offering exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features to our Indian Snapchatter community who is eager to try our new products and features.”

This gamble also follows Snap’s disastrous results in the second quarter of the year, following which its shares took a sharp plunge of over 25%. At that time, it was reported that the company was looking to lay off several of its employees after the lacklustre Q2 performance was posted.

What does Snapchat+ have to offer Indian users? The company revealed that users will have access to several exclusive features (more will roll out in the future), some of which are given below:

1. For one, they will have access to the exclusive Snapchat+ badge to show others that the user has a premium subscription, and the user can toggle between turning it on and off.

2. Premium subscribers can change the existing app icon to one that they want.

3. If you’d like to see how many users have watched your stories more than once, you can use the premium Rewatch indicator to do so. Note that you cannot see who exactly will be rewatching them.

4. The next time you want to show the world who your best friend is, you can pin the individual as your BFF (Best Friends Forever), one individual at a time.

5. The Ghost Trail feature will allow you to see what your friends have been up to on the platform, that is, you can see their movement activity on the Snapchat map.