|Founded||October 1, 2014|
|Owner||As of January 2016:|
KCUBE Holdings (14.90%)
In May 2015, the company acquired
Kakao Corp is the company behind KakaoTalk, which serves as its main platform and flagship application. It was founded in 2010 by
Within the first three years after their entrance into the mobile market, Kakao Corp. introduced ten related services. The first of these releases took place in 2010 with a "gifting" feature that enabled users to buy gifts and coupons virtually through KakaoTalk and send them to their friends via the application.
In 2011, Plus Friend was introduced where users receive messages, announcements, and coupons from celebrities and brand name stores. This feature acts as a source for advertising and marketing for companies and celebrities since KakaoTalk does not have banner ads. KakaoTalk also features
Kakao Corp. introduced their gaming system Playing Game where gaming items can be purchased in 2012. Kakao also expanded their social networking system by introducing Kakao Story, a mobile photo sharing application. Kakao Style, a fashion trend and retail application, was introduced along with Choco, Kakao's cyber money. In a struggle to erase its deficit from 2011, the free mobile messenger application launched gaming, and retail advertising services without banner ads. It is expected that the largest portion of revenue will be generated through games due to KakaoTalk's massive social network presence in the host country. KakaoTalk's method of brand advertisement is demonstrated through advertising channels called Plus Friends, where users can add the brand as their friend on the mobile messenger. Users will receive content from brands or celebrities as a personal message instead of banner ads. Companies pay KakaoTalk to create an account (starting price is $20K). Third main source of revenue comes from emoticons that can be purchased within KakaoTalk for $2–3. In 2012 the sources of KakaoTalk's $42 million revenue was broken down into 67.5 percent ($31.1M) gaming, 26.2 percent ($12.1M) advertising, and 6.3 percent ($2.8M) emoticon sales.
In August 2013, three of App Annie’s Global Top 10 Android games are tied into the KakaoTalk platform—
According to a December 2013 App Annie report, Kakao is the world’s third top publisher by monthly revenue at
Kakao Corp’s full suite of apps includes: KakaoTalk, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, KakaoAccount, KakaoMap, KakaoDriver, KakaoBus, KakaoMusic, KakaoMusic, KakaoGroup, KakaoHome, KakaoPlace, KakaoAlbum, KakaoPage, KakaoStyle, and KakaoAgit.
On 26 May 2014, Kakao Corp. announced that it had decided to merge with Daum Communications—one of Korea's top Internet portals—through a stock swap. Once the two firms were combined the emergent company would have a 3 trillion won ($2.9 billion) market capitalization, enabling it to lodge a credible threat to Naver, which is South Korea's biggest web portal. The new entity Daum Kakao was valued close to 10 trillion won (US $9.45 billion).
In 2015, the company changed its name to Kakao. Due to gambling and censorship issues within the Kakao ecosystem, the organization's board of directors ejected
On 10 March 2015, Daum Kakao launched their
Kakao was approved by South Korean regulators to become the nation's first Internet-only bank in 2017. The Internet bank engages in the same business as commercial banks, including processing deposits, loans and wiring money. Consumers will no longer need to visit a bank to open a new bank account or to get a loan. Kakao's business plan was considered innovative, and the company's business model was expected to secure sizable customer sign-ups relatively easily, based on the users of KakaoTalk, which is the country's most popular messaging application.
Although K-Bank eventually became South Korea's Internet-only bank having been launched several months prior, Kakao Bank immediately attracted more 820,000 customers within four days of its launch on 27 July 2017. The dedicated Kakao Bank app itself was downloaded 1.5 million times within the same period. The bank had 3.5 million customers after a month. These figures trounced the 400,000 users that K-Bank amassed within 100 days of its existence. By 26 September 2017, Kakao Bank lent ₩1.4 trillion ($1.2 billion), constituting 40 percent of the total loans in all of South Korea for that particular month. The bank's unprecedented expansion is seen as an exception to the closure of banks, particularly foreign-owned institutions. The fledgling performance for these banks is being blamed on the high cost of maintaining brick-and-mortar operations and the popularity of Internet finance among Korean consumers.
In November 2015, Kakao launched the taxi business model