Message apps look beyond subscribers

2013_04_kakao_lineInstant mobile messengers have remained the hottest properties in the Korean tech scene since KakaoTalk debuted in March 2010. KakaoTalk’s users now total 83 million worldwide and its strong rival Line, run by Korea’s top portal site operator NHN, had its global users surpass 130 million recently, 19 months after NHN’s Japanese unit launched it for Japanese users.

The two are expecting higher figures when it comes to number of users – 280 million early next year for Line and 100 million by the end of this year for KakaoTalk. But both face the same main challenges: Translating such gigantic user pools into actual revenues, going beyond their core messaging functions and replacing existing Web-based services as consumers move for good to mobile platforms.

Kakao, the operator of KakaoTalk, and NHN both say that this year will be a crucial turning point that will decide their future paths and growth.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

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