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Kakao founder quits board to explore overseas business

Chairman Kim Beom-su says he will focus on Kakao‘s global expansion, starting in Japan

Kakao’s founder and chairman Kim Beom-su (Kakao)
Kakao’s founder and chairman Kim Beom-su (Kakao)
Korea’s tech titan Kakao said Monday that its founder Kim Beom-su will leave his chairman post at the board to explore new business opportunities overseas and break the boundary of mobile-focused platform businesses.

Kim’s resignation as the chairman of the board will be approved at the upcoming shareholders meeting on March 29. Kim will resume his post as the head of the company’s Future Initiative Center, Kakao said. The Kakao founder has chaired the board since 2015.

Based on his business experience in Japan, Kim will start with expanding the services of its Japanese webtoon platform Piccoma, it added.

“Kim founded Hangame Japan in 2000. Also, he has been participating in the Japanese webtoon business as the director of Kakao Piccoma since 2017,” Kakao said.

Starting with Japan, Kakao plans to expand its footing in the global arena by adopting top-down management of business strategies.

“Kakao’s subsidiary companies have been entering the global market based on their own separate strategies. But in order to create synergy with its overseas businesses, we need to push the boundaries across affiliates,” said Kakao’s new CEO nominee Namkoong Whon during a recent online press conference.

“For instance, Kakao can come up with a joint management system between Piccoma and Kakao Games Japan in terms of their business funding strategies.”

Kakao Entertainment -- one of Kakao’s key global affiliates that is targeting countries such as North America, the ASEAN region, Greater China, India and Europe with Kakao Webtoon -- aims to boost its global transaction volume threefold by 2024.

The firm will focus on producing streaming services, TV programs and movies with contents using massive Intellectual Property, Kakao said.

Kakao Games is set to launch its new games overseas. It has recently completed the beta service of its mobile game Odin in Taiwan and is preparing for its official launch scheduled this year.

Citing one of Kakao’s slogans, “Beyond Korea,” Kim said through a message to Kakao employees: “It is not only our main goal to ‘go global,’ but our nation calls for us to expand beyond Korea.”

“I wish to join the journey of Kakao to create a strong foothold in the international market, challenging the global IT giants.”

According to Kim, Namkoong -- also known as NK -- will take charge of the new metaverse business to move “Beyond Mobile.” Based on Namkoong’s leadership, Kakao’s business and services will be reshuffled into a structure that makes it easy to knock on doors overseas, Kim added.

Kakao held a temporary board of directors meeting on the same day and appointed Hong Eun-taek, co-head of the Corporate Alignment Center, as a new board member.

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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