Kakao Talk unveils digital content shop

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 3:03 am •  Published: November 20, 2012

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.

"The 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," said Mark Ranson, an analyst at research firm Ovum.

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 friends.

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.


Youkyung Lee can be reached via Twitter: www.twitter.com/YKLeeAP