• Nice is one of the hippest photo-sharing social networking apps in China.

Nice is one of the hippest photo-sharing social networking apps in China. (Photo : www.english.sina.com)

Developers of Instagram's Chinese counterpart, Nice, are setting their sights abroad. One of the hippest apps in China, Nice helps its users connect with each other like many other social networks.

One of Nice's most prominent features is photo sharing, wherein users are allowed to customize the photographs they share with a wide selection of stickers. An integrated tagging system increases interactivity among users.

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A more recent innovation for Nice is its Tinder-like swiping feature that uses criteria to generate recommended tags and profiles. Developers also added a direct messaging feature, which allows users to communicate with each other privately.

According to Adam Morley, "other photo-based social networks focus more on editing and using tags and decoration, whereas we're using tags to connect people. Basically we're a backend-oriented app when others are frontend-oriented."

The product of collaboration between Alex Zhou and Ken Cao, Nice was originally used by Beijing men who shared a love for shoes. Today, female users outnumber the men, and a slew of features were added to accommodate its increasingly diverse users.

The next logical step for Nice is to expand its growing kingdom overseas. After all, 10 percent of its user base resides outside China.

"Due to our organic global growth, we've recently built up a global facing team and have already launched separate, less 'sinicized' versions for a global audience," said Morley.

Despite the optimistic outlook, Chinese social networks have yet to gain popularity out of the mainland. The exception to this is Tencent's WeChat. While dreams of expansion are still in mind, Morley assures that China is still the startup's main focus area.

Nice is most notable for starting the "visual tagging phenomenon," which is now a common feature among many social networking apps.