Kakao co-CEOs Cho Soo-yong (left) and Yeo Min-su pose for a picture during an online press conference held Wednesday. (Kakao)
Kakao said Wednesday that it would add a digital wallet feature to South Korea’s largest messenger application KakaoTalk. The company will also start introducing new subscription-based services via the messenger application.
Kakao’s co-CEOs Yeo Min-su and Cho Soo-yong introduced new features that are to be added to KakaoTalk during an online press conference held as part of the company’s annual conference, which runs from Wednesday to Friday.
The digital wallet feature would allow messenger users to keep various types of identification measures, such as a driver’s license, student ID card, state-approved technician license and welfare card for people with disabilities.
Kakao is working with government institutions and the private sector to integrate more diverse licenses into the messenger application, Kakao co-CEO Cho said. “I expect digital wallets would eventually replace the actual ones,” he added.
Kakao will also introduce new subscription-based services that would cover a wide range of products.
According to Yeo, more and more companies are shifting toward the sharing economy and a subscription economy from traditional business models, yet the offline procedures still remain complex. Yeo explained that Kakao tried to simplify the procedures that could occur when customers try to rent or purchase products.
Starting Thursday, KakaoTalk users can subscribe to channels provided by private firms, through which they can order their products -- like cosmetic products -- on a regular basis or rent home appliances for several years.
Kakao will start the service with rental kimchi refrigerators provided by Winia Aid. In the future, products that people can order on a subscription basis will include massage chairs by Bodyfriend, cosmetic products from Amorepacific, humidifiers and air purifiers from Winix and furniture by Hanssem.
Kakao said the company plans to add housekeeping assistance cleaning services to the platform.
Kakao would also bring changes to KakaoTalk Channel to make the business tool more relatable for both small businesses and potential consumers.
Next year, Kakao plans to roll out an additional feature to its messenger application, through which users can make their own pages with news, media contents, music, writing and other creative works. This new feature will be linked to in-app search tool Sharp Search to increase user interactions.
Meanwhile, Kakao is to add a Soundcloud-like feature to its music streaming application Melon. This new feature, designed to nurture local creators, would allow local musicians to share their works and make interactions with users, free of charge, the company explained.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)