Asian messaging apps have often been questioned for their international presence. Kakao, the South Korean company behind the popular messaging app Kakao Talk has been serious with its international expansion of late. After signing up with Tapjoy last month as its first international ad partner for its Kakao game services, the Seoul based company has embarked on to make a strong move in Malaysia. According to Tech In Asia, the Korean company has partnered with Friendster, who has agreed to promote its chat and social messaging apps KakaoTalk and KakaoStory in Malaysia.
The Malaysian based social-network-turned-social–gaming-website, Friendster which is owned by Malaysia based MOL, has agreed to manage Kakao digital mobile game channels, mobile gifting, and the digital item store. The partnership will also see Friendster establishing a wholly owned subsidiary called “Kakao Malaysia Sdn” to operate Kakao’s platform in the country. This also hints that Kakao Malaysia will be responsible for sourcing local content, advertisers, and new game content that would align with the tastes of the local communities and specially the youth.
The big partnership announcement by Kakao also had some updates about the numbers that reflect the growth of the messaging app. According to the latest stats, the app has more than 94 million users across the globe on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Bada. Added to this the app witnesses 5.2 billion messages being sent from the app and it also has 142 games introduced on its platform which has accumulated more than 268 million users across all its games as of May 2013.
The numbers and the big announcement in the international markets surely comes at a perfect timing when rival apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and Line are trying to grab a bigger pie of the business in the local as well as international markets. WeChat that has more than 300M users had also revealed recently that the app is witnessing 190M active users each month. The latest numbers of active users came at a very interesting time when WhatsApp had credited itself to be bigger than Twitter.
But then the figures don’t highlight the active numbers on the app across the borders of China. And the numbers are not a bigger threat to other competing apps like Line, WhatsApp. WhatsApp has a more international dominance and Line approximately has 105M registered users outside of Japan out of its 150M base. However, the latest push in marketing initiatives and adding local features in India by WeChat can’t be ignored.
Nevertheless, Kakao seems to be on the run to introduce valuable features for users and getting into strategic tie-ups with businesses. Besides, it is interesting to see Kakao showing faith on Friendster which has been trying hard to make a comeback after adding dating features on its social platform.