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Kakao Mobility’s Ride-Hailing App Sees Sevenfold Growth in Global Markets

Expanding into 37 countries, Kakao Mobility's overseas usage spikes, with Japan showing the fastest growth
South Korea
k 035720.KO Blue Chip 150 Tech 350
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Kakao Mobility Corp., operating South Korea’s leading ride-hailing app, Kakao T, has reported a significant sevenfold increase in its overseas service usage within the first nine months of the year. This growth, highlighted in its year-end business review report, marks a crucial phase in the company’s aggressive international expansion.

The tech giant’s subsidiary, Kakao Mobility, has been actively broadening its global footprint, despite facing domestic criticism over alleged monopolistic practices. Now, Kakao T extends its services across 37 countries, including a strategic partnership with Lyft in the United States, the world’s largest mobility market. A notable development in this expansion was Kakao’s acquisition of Splyt, a UK ride-hailing startup, marking the company’s first cross-border deal.

Japan emerged as the fastest-growing market for Kakao T services, especially following the visa-free entry for South Koreans initiated in October 2022. In January 2023 alone, service calls in Japan exceeded the total calls in the entire previous year. Globally, Vietnam leads the top five service countries for Kakao T this year, followed by Japan, Guam, Thailand, and Singapore.

In a move to enhance user experience, Kakao integrated its app with various overseas payment services, including Alipay, easing the use of its services by foreign tourists in Korea. These tourists predominantly use Kakao’s services for traveling to cultural and K-pop related destinations, such as Yongma Land in Seoul and Jumunjin Beach in Gangneung.

The analysis of flight ticket sales through the Kakao T app reveals a preference for Japanese destinations among Koreans, with Osaka, Tokyo, and Fukuoka being the top choices. The report also indicated distinct travel patterns, with Koreans booking domestic flights 13 days in advance, compared to 36 days for international travel. Fridays and Mondays emerged as the most popular days for departures to and from Japan, respectively.

This robust international growth and strategic partnerships underscore Kakao Mobility’s ambition to establish a significant global presence in the ride-hailing sector.

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