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Desire for digital interaction defines where finance is headed: KakaoBank CEO

Yun Ho-young, CEO of KakaoBank, speaks during the Global Business Forum 2021 hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday in Seoul. (The Korea Herald)
Yun Ho-young, CEO of KakaoBank, speaks during the Global Business Forum 2021 hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday in Seoul. (The Korea Herald)


Human desire for constant, convenient and unique interactions in digital spaces defines where the future of finance, as well as KakaoBank, is headed, the CEO of South Korea’s largest online lender said Wednesday.

“People say the ‘uncontact’ phenomenon has triggered digitalization of industries under the pandemic, but they still love to contact, they just want to do it in a digital space. And we are going to see how such human desire will reshape the future of industries, including finance,” KakaoBank CEO Yun Ho-young said at the Global Business Forum 2021 hosted by The Korea Herald in Seoul.

While suggesting “digitact” as a key word for the ongoing industrial change, Yun said the true innovator of the future market will be someone who removes the act of payment itself and converts the process into a natural part of life.

When asked about a possible merger of KakaoBank and its fintech arm Kakao Pay, Yun said such scheme is not possible under the Korean law that bans a nonfinancial company from owning a financial company.

Choi Jae-boong, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University, speaks during the Global Business Forum 2021, hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday in Seoul. (The Korea Herald)
Choi Jae-boong, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University, speaks during the Global Business Forum 2021, hosted by The Korea Herald on Wednesday in Seoul. (The Korea Herald)


Taking the success story of KakaoBank as a case example, professor Choi Jae-boong of Sungkyunkwan University said businesses that invest in technology and design would only be able to survive in the future when the so-called MZ generation become the main consumers of the market.

“Based on a deep understanding on human behavior and humanism, businesses should invest in technology and design that could win people’s hearts,” he said.

“(Products and services) can make people’s hearts beat only when their design and details are in perfect shape ... enough to build an everlasting fandom -- like BTS is to Army,” Choi said, referring to the mega K-pop band’s loyal fan group.

Yun and Choi were speakers for the weekly forum that takes place every Wednesday through December. The forum is designed to offer insight into the Korean economy for business leaders across the country.

KakaoBank made its market debut on Aug. 6 and became the largest financial institution by market capitalization on the country’s stock market. As the end of October, KakaoBank had 17.58 million registered users.

(gypark@heraldcorp.com)
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