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Kakao aims to expand Korea’s subscription ecosystem, has eyes on Japanese webtoon market

Firm sees 66% increase in Q2 operating profit based on balanced growth of advertisements, commerce and content

(Kakao Corp,)
(Kakao Corp,)


Kakao Corp., the No. 1 mobile messenger app operator in South Korea, said Friday that it plans to expand the domestic ecosystem for subscription-based platforms while also seeking to grow its profit in the Japanese webtoon market.

The plans were revealed during the firm’s earnings call for the second quarter.

During the call, Kakao announced that it had achieved 42 percent on-year growth in sales for the April to June period, posting 1.35 trillion won ($1.18 billion). Its operating profit stood at 162.6 billion won, up 66 percent from the same quarter last year.

Starting from Q2, the company will reveal its sources of profit more intuitively by recategorizing its businesses as either platform or content businesses, it said.

The platform unit obtained 761.8 billion won in sales, up 47 percent from a year earlier. The unit includes messenger service KakaoTalk and taxi-hailing app Kakao Taxi.

The content unit saw a 35 percent increase in sales during the same period.

The company said its Kakao Japan webtoon platform, Piccoma, rose to the top spot in terms of sales in the global cartoon app market.

“Kakao will make the subscription-based platform ecosystem expand at a faster rate based on the three pillars of commerce, services and content centering on the KakaoTalk Channel,” said Yeo Min-soo, co-CEO of Kakao Corp.

Kakao Japan aims to reach 1 trillion won in transactions for webtoons this year and to become the No. 1 webtoon business in Japan, said Bae Jae-hyun, senior vice president at Kakao.

As of June, Piccoma accounted for 65 percent of the Japanese webtoon app market, he said.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)
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