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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Carriers submit to era of free texts with hot new app

2013_01_joynKorea’s three mobile carriers, which have been threatened by the emergence of free mobile messengers led by KakaoTalk and Line, have joined hands to launch a next-generation mobile communication platform called joyn.

The collaborative move indicates that the mobile service providers have determined to give up their earnings from text messaging services as their new rivals have been undermining the carriers’ profits by offering their texting services for free. In contrast, carriers charge 20 won ($0.02) per SMS.

Joyn offers more functions than existing mobile messengers and bills itself as a “rich communication suite” (RCS) telecommunication tool. It enables users to send and receive text-based SMS and multimedia MMS messages, transfer image and video files, and make mobile Voice over IP (mVoIP) voice calls – all free of charge.

At 100 megabytes, the new platform’s single file transfer capacity ceiling is five times bigger than KakaoTalk’s.

For full article see Joongang Daily.