You Snapchat, We Kakao

by Shaw Sansevere on July 19, 2014







Probably the biggest and most-used app in Korea is KakaoTalk that provides free messaging and phone calls to users anywhere in the world.

In a country where 70% of Korea’s 50 million people have a smart phone, this app is an essential.  93% of all smartphone owners in Korea, have KakaoTalk. That’s about 30 million Korean users, 145 million users worldwide. KakaoTalk has become a part of Korean culture and if you ever travel here and want to meet and keep new friends, this app is a must. Koreans don’t say message me, they say “katalk me”

KakaoTalk allows you to connect with your friends through your stored numbers in your contact list or through searching a user’s ID. You can contact friends or groups of friends via messaging or by making free phone calls. The app also allows users to buy/play third-party games, listen and share music, share locations and much more. It also has a Twitter-like plusFriends that allows you to keep up with your favorite celebrities and brands. KakaoStory allows you to keep your friends updated on what’s going on in your life.

What makes Kakao different?



In KakaoGift, users can buy a friend a birthday coffee at their favorite coffee shop or buy a girlfriend a quick gift for her special day. With a wide array of products to choose from, friends receive a redeemable digital coupon, or even have it delivered by mail.



Emoticons are a favorite in Korea. The app’s characters have become a part of Korean culture. They even have an ongoing comedy sketch on the Big Comedy League where actors dress up as the most popular emoticons and act out a Kakao conversation taking place between friends or family.

There are lots of third-party apps that you can exclusively play on KakaoTalk. Some of the best and most popular games in Korea are found on this platform. The most popular game at the moment is “Monster Taming,” a real-time battle strategy game. Although most apps inside KakaoTalk are in Korean, there are English versions in Google Play and the iTune’s store.


Kakao users are very active with over 4 billion messages sent daily. It’s 27 million daily users send, on-average, over 150 messages per day.  Although Kakao users may be fewer than Snapchat or Line, they sure do share more.

Recently Kakao and Daum, one of the Korea’s largest internet portals, merged to put their company in a better position to compete with their much-larger rival Naver and their messaging-app Line. The merger will help in Kakao’s oversea expansion, which has been very limited to this point.  Kakao has continued to win numerous awards for its innovative style and expect more to come.  As it expands and adapts to the overseas market its creative platform may become a new trend for worldwide users. Keep a lookout for KakaoTalk!


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