BUSINESS

Kakao launches chauffeur service in Korea

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : May 31, 2016 - 14:50
  • Updated : Jun 1, 2016 - 10:22
Mobile messenger operator Kakao started its chauffeur service, KakaoDriver, in Korea on Tuesday.

Through the KakaoDriver mobile application, subscribers are able to use the chauffeur service, including requesting for the service as well as payment, according to the Korean company. 

Mobile messenger firm Kakao rolls out chauffeur service KakaoDriver in Korea on Tuesday. (Kakao)

Smartphone users can use the service after they accept some terms and conditions and register their credit cards on the app.

The base service fee starts at 15,000 won ($12.6) and additional fees will be charged based on travel distance and time.

Kakao said the algorithms behind the app calculate the service fee in a reasonable manner, but did not reveal how the algorithms work.

A trip from Gwanghwamun in central Seoul to Gangnam Station in the southern part of Seoul, for example, costs approximately around 23,000 won, including the base fee, in the afternoon.

“KakaoDriver will offer unprecedented value for users and a favorable work environment for those engaged in the chauffeur service market thorough the mobile service,” Chung Joo-hwan, the head of Kakao’s offline-to-online business, said.

He added that the company will help solve problems faced by offline industries by combining them with mobile services.

The operator of the nation’s most-used mobile messenger KakaoTalk said around 50,000 chauffeurs, or 40 percent of drivers in the chauffeur business sector, have registered as drivers for the new mobile services.

The registered drivers have gone through a series of document screening and interviews and Kakao covers their insurance costs to ensure quality service.

The latest mobile service is in line with the company’s efforts to increase its presence in offline sectors, including retail and transportation, on the back of its dominant position in the nation’s mobile messenger market.

As of December last year, around 48 million smartphone users, or 75 percent of the entire population, uses the mobile messenger.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)