Following an inter-subsidiary acquisition, Kakao Friends, a character licensing subsidiary of mobile software giant Kakao, changed its name to Kakao IX on Wednesday. Kakao IX is short for Kakao Innovative eXperience.
Other than selling goods that use Kakao’s intellectual property for characters, Kakao IX will serve as a documentary magazine publisher, food and beverage brand owner and real estate developer, the company said.
This came after Kakao Friends on July 2 took over Joh & Co., a branding and design consulting agency formerly run by incumbent Kakao co-CEO Joh Su-yong. Joh & Co. has operated as a subsidiary of Kakao since March.
The company said the acquisition will boost synergy between the two subsidiaries and stimulate Kakao’s foray into markets at home and abroad with lifestyle brands. The company is seeking expansion into Japan in the second half of this year, to be followed by China, the United States and Europe.
Since it was founded in March 2015, Kakao Friends has launched characters including Ryan, Apeach, Frodo and Muzi. They are widely used as emoticons on Korea’s biggest mobile messenger app KakaoTalk.
By Son Ji-hyoung