Kakao Talk, a popular mobile messenger in South Korea, will launch an
online music and electronic book shop next year as it continues to grow
beyond its original mission to provide a simple messaging service.
shop named "Kakao Page" will provide publishing tools for artists,
writers, musicians and other creative types to sell and market their
songs, music videos and electronic books to Kakao Talk users, which
number 66 million, CEO Sirgoo Lee said Tuesday.
Kakao Inc. has
built on the success of its mobile messaging service, which was launched
in March 2010, to expand into online games, advertising and other forms
of electronic commerce. The company has lost money since being founded
in late 2006 but expects to make a profit this year.
plans to take a 20 percent cut from Kakao Page sales after giving 30
percent to application store operators like Google or Apple and 50
percent to the content creator.
When launched next year, Kakao Page will be available only in South Korea where roughly half of its users are based, Lee said.
has been trying to increase its overseas Kakao Talk users by partnering
with companies in other markets. Last month, Kakao sold a 50 percent
stake in Kakao Japan to Yahoo! Japan, hoping to achieve more growth in
Asia's second-largest economy where rival Line messenger by NHN Japan
has been expanding rapidly.
In the U.S., it hopes to partner with
Internet giants such as Google and Facebook to reach U.S. smartphone
users, its founder and chairman Brian Kim said.
"We are looking for partners in the U.S.," he said. "Google would be nice and Facebook will be nice as well."
Kim, a respected entrepreneur in South Korea, was formerly a CEO of South Korean Internet giant NHN Corp.
Others suggest a partnership with a game publisher or a mobile carrier could boost Kakao's overseas ambitions.
key for Kakao will be to find a company with a large existing user base
and strong brand awareness in the U.S. market. Such a partner is most
likely to come from the digital game industry or among the country's
mobile network operators," Mark Ranson, an analyst at research firm
In South Korea where "Ka Talk" has entered the local lexicon
to describe a mobile chat, Kakao operates a popular photo-sharing tool
akin to Instagram and a mobile commerce shop to send digital coupons to
Its biggest move so far was opening a mobile game store in July.
Kakao Talk helped three mobile games gather more than 10 million users in about one month.