Asia Pacific Blog
Google and the Internet from .in to .au
From Seoul to Rio: How Retrica Went Global
Thursday, March 26, 2015
This post is part of
our regular series of interviews
with people across Asia-Pacific who’ve caught our eye, using the Internet to create, connect and grow.
This week we interviewed Sangwon Park, Founder of Retrica in Korea.
What is Retrica?
Retrica is a camera app that lets you filter photos in real-time. With this app, you can set a filter before taking a photo and then the filter is immediately reflected in the photo. This app was the first successful product made by Venticake, a company I helped to establish in October 2011.
Retrica is a camera app that lets you filter photos in real-time.
What motivated you to develop Retrica and to target the global market?
When I started the business I set myself the goal of entering the global market. I chose to make a photo app because it’s not really affected by language. Back then, most of the photo apps allowed users to edit photos after taking them, so I decided to develop a real-time camera filter app, combining the camera features and editing features.
When did it launch, and how many users are there now?
When I first launched this app, in November 2012, we only supported iOS. Then I discovered that people had made a Twitter community named “We Want Retrica on Android.” I felt proud that users really wanted this app. In response, I launched Retrica for Android in Google Play in April 2014 after four months of development. Downloads exploded after the Android launch — monthly downloads increased more than 11-fold for the first two months. I was very surprised by this rapid growth. This was a miracle: there seems to be no other way to describe this.
What is the share of downloads from Korean users and global users? Are there any countries where the app is particularly popular?
About 98.5% of all downloads in Google Play come from outside of Korea. This clearly shows that Retrica is a global service. This app is performing well in South America in particular. For example, our analytics show that about 21 million smartphone users have our app in Brazil, which is about
40% of everyone with a smartphone in that country
Did you expect that global success?
I had the global market in mind when I developed and launched this app, but I never thought that it would have such great performance overseas. If somebody asked me to share the secret to success in the global market, I would say that it’s Google Play’s global coverage. Google Play is a platform that reaches 1 billion users in more than 190 countries. Without Google Play, I would not have known that there was an opportunity in the South American market.
Based on your experience, what is your advice for Korean startups dreaming of the global market?
Your product is the most important thing. I made sure to create a simple UI which allows users to open the app and take a photo right away, on any device. Besides that, I listened to user feedback including emails and user reviews. With the help of Google Translate, I can even read and reply to emails from overseas users. Google Play provides simple distribution and updates (it allows over four times more updates compared to other app stores) so I can easily reflect feedback from users. I also use Google Play statistics and Google Analytics to analyze user behavior to find out what to improve.
What are your future plans and goals for Retrica?
My goals are to maintain user growth and increase user return visits. After taking a photo with Retrica, you can choose to include the Retrica logo in your photo, what we call the “Retrica Watermark.” We are planning to take this one step further, by providing users with more options to edit the photos after taking them, such as recording the date, time, or place where the photo was taken.
Posted by Sangwon Park, Founder of
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