ZDNet — Kakao, the company behind South Korea’s most popular instant messaging app, KakaoTalk, has said it will cooperate with government prosecutors when they request chat messages, ending a year-long standoff over privacy. The decision marks a 180-degree turn for the company and, to date, the most clear departure in corporate strategy from its former CEO Lee Seok-Woo with new CEO, 34-year-old Lim Ji-Hoon, who took the helm officially during a stakeholders meeting on September 30.
The Star — SEOUL: Kakao Corp, the operator of South Korea’s largest mobile messaging app, said Tencent Holdings Ltd and eBay Inc have joined its bid for a new South Korean Internet bank license. Tencent and eBay will make their investments through subsidiaries, which are expected to take stakes of 4% or less in the bank should a license be gained, a Kakao spokesman said. He declined to comment on financial terms.
Business Korea — Naver and Daum Kakao are actively seeking to take back the local Internet service market of online video services, taxi services, and SNS from foreign companies. In particular, they have appeared to strengthen their position in the online video market by narrowing the gap with their rival YouTube. According to industry sources on Aug. 10, Korean portal operators are targeting the local market by releasing services to curb the dominance of foreign Internet giants like Google.
Korea Times — Daum Kakao, the operator of the nation’s dominant Kakao Talk messaging service, is on track to diversify beyond its mobile platform for further growth. Daum Kakao has enjoyed remarkable success on its home turf with KakaoTalk and more recently launched services such as KakaoTaxi and KakaoPay. But its performance outside the Korean Peninsula has been viewed as underwhelming.
Korea Times — Daum Kakao, the operator of the mobile messenger app KakaoTalk, launched a mobile search service Tuesday. It said the new service “KakaoSearch” runs on its messenger app and has integrated Daum’s web search engine and its database to help users look up information on their phones and share with others.
According to Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) on June 21, the domestic mobile payment market has shown a steady increasing trend, already exceeding 3 trillion won (US$2.71 billion) in the first half of last year. Domestic payments have steadily increased every quarter from 1.127 trillion won (US$1.02 billion) in the first quarter of 2013 to 2.355 trillion won (US$2.13 billion) in the fourth quarter of the same year. Also, it posted 3.193 trillion won (US$2.88 billion) in the second quarter of last year.
Dominant South Korean chat app KakaoTalk is getting a new feature in which users can view streaming videos together, including live sports broadcasts. KakaoTV is a bit like a virtual TV in a virtual living room. It lets users view and share videos in KakoTalk chat rooms while they comment on what’s being watched. The videos appear above users’ conversations.
Daum Kakao, the public-listed firm responsible for one of Korea’s largest web portal in Daum and chat app KakaoTalk, has acquired 100 percent of K Cube Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm that backs primarily Korean companies along with a few Asia-Pacific ones. Daum Kakao will add another US$15 million into K Cube’s kitty to launch a new early stage fund, and in the process, K Cube will become the acquirer’s corporate investment arm.
Netmarble’s new mobile game “Raven with Naver” is leading major mobile application stores here, shedding new light on market success through a publishing platform other than Kakao Game. The nation’s leading mobile game provider said Raven, a mobile action role-playing game, has been ranked on the top perch in the top-grossing charts of both Google’s Play and Apple’s Appstore since March 17, five days after its release. The game ended the months-long lead of mobile strategy game “Clash of Clans,” developed and published by the Finnish game company Supercell.
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.