SINGAPORE: Mobile messaging apps Line and Kakao Talk are busy trying to conquer overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and India. But they may do well to keep a close eye on their home turf of Japan and South Korea as China’s WeChat amasses more users. Among six messaging apps, WeChat saw the biggest upptick in usage in Japan and South Korea last month versus a year earlier, boosted by its gaming, e-commerce and multimedia capabilities, according to data on Android smartphones tracked by Mobidia.
Daum Kakao, the largest messenger app operator in South Korea, said Tuesday it will start its publishing platform for mobile devices in China. After entering the Chinese market in 2013, the company now plans to join the mobile publishing business to widen its foothold in the world’s largest marketplace. The company revealed it plans to set-up a publishing task force to help game developers publish mobile apps in Chinese platforms like Apple, 360, Tencent and Baidu.
Daum Kakao is considering setting up an Internet-based bank as the financial authority decided to allow non-financial companies to advance into the business. “We have an interest and we are positively reviewing the project, but no detailed plans have come up yet,” a Daum Kakao spokesman said. On Tuesday, the Financial Service Commission (FSC) said it will revise regulations on Internet banks to make way for non-financial companies to invest in them more easily.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) plans to inspect Google Korea and other leading location-based services (LBS) providers over data and privacy protection. It will look into the Korean offices of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm and BMW to check their latest updates for addressing privacy concerns. The nation’s dominant web portals Naver, Daum Kakao, along with the country’s three carriers ― SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus ― Samsung and LG Electronics, SK Energy and Hyundai Motor will all be subject to questioning about their privacy policies, said a senior official at the KCC.
It appears that Seoul’s government doesn’t have a bone to pick with all ride booking apps, after all. While Uber – whose CEO, Travis Kalanick, was charged by Korean officials last month for not having a license to operate – is banned in the country, today authorities in South Korea approved a new taxi app that will launch soon. Daum Kakao’s taxi hailing app, named Kakao Taxi, seems to be in the clear as it will use only registered city cabs.
Earlier today, recently merged Korean firms Daum and Kakao shared their third quarter earnings reports. While still operating separately for the time being, Daum-Kakao announced a total combined revenue of 221.8 billion won (US$200 million), with profits of 30.759 billion won (US$28 million). While overall revenue was down six percent year-on-year, it’s clear that Kakao and games will be driving the newly merged company going forward.
For better or for worse, Korea is one of the world’s most connected nations, with about 85 percent of their population on the internet as of last year . Local KakaoTalk users – who make up three-quarters of the almost 50 million monthly active users – recently found out the downside when the government announced a crackdown on online defamation. This was in light of the discovery of what President Park Geun-hye termed as rumors spreading on the chat app that “divided the society”, according to StarTribune .
SEOUL–The operator of South Korea’s dominant instant-messaging service Kakao Talk has vowed to put privacy before the law and deny investigating state prosecutors access to the messages of its users. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office and various government agencies, including the National Police Agency, last month announced “proactive” measures to prevent the spread of false and malicious online postings.
Two of Korea’s strongest players in the mobile space, Daum and Kakao, have completed a merger today, following an initial announcement back in May. According to Yonhap News Agency , the new entity is valued at close to a massive sum of 10 trillion won (US$9.45 billion). Despite Kakao’s market value nearly quadrupling Daum’s, the latter will be taking over former. The report adds that Kakao will be getting a backdoor listing through the merger on KOSDAQ, instead of going public the following year as they initially planned.
KakaoTalk today launches a mobile payment service called KakaoPay. As the name suggests, it allows users of the messaging app to pay using their KakaoTalk account for certain products they buy online. The team expects KakaoPay to support debit and credit cards from most major South Korean financial institutions. Users can register and use up to 20 different non-corporate debit and credit cards inside the KakaoPay account.
KakaoTalk, the startup messaging app with over 140 million registered users, beat the big boys like WeChat and Line to the punch with its social gaming platform, which launched two years ago. Today KakaoTalk revealed how that money-making gaming system is working out. Now KakaoTalk has 20 million monthly active users on its chat app-connected social games.
One week ago, internet users in China started to report malfunctions on popular foreign services Line, KakaoTalk, Flickr, and OneDrive. The disruptions have yet to subside at the time of writing. Media organizations including Tech in Asia have run their own unscientific tests and found that some users in the mainland cannot access or use these services. GreatFire.org, an anonymous organization that monitors online censorship in China, claimed that that these services have indeed been “blocked” by Chinese authorities.
More than a day after Tech in Asia first observed that Japanese chat app Line was malfunctioning in China, it looks like another mobile messenger is hitting roadbumps in the Middle Kingdom – South Korea’s KakaoTalk. Reports of the disruption first surfaced in Korean media last night, with the first English-language report arriving this morning. A Kakao representative confirmed with Tech in Asia that pre-registered users in China were still able to maintain one-to-one chats but could not add new friends or use other features. Steven Millward, our colleague in Suzhou, was unable to register for KakaoTalk as a new user.
In yet another major development in the global chat app wars, popular Korea-based messaging startup Kakao looks set to merge with Daum, the country’s second-largest web portal. The Korea Herald reports that Daum announced the news this morning, and the two firms will hold a joint press conference later today with more details.
Metaps Inc. (HQ: Tokyo, CEO: Katsuaki Sato, hereafter “Metaps”) announced that the total downloads of apps on the Android monetization platform ‘metaps’ has surpassed 1 billion. The metaps Platform consists of the DirectTAP, Exchanger and metaps offerwall products, providing a complete suite of monetization solutions to Android developers, reaching the 1 billion download milestone of the total downloads of apps that are on the metaps Platform.