Messaging app KakaoTalk has topped 110 million users with 40 per cent believed to be outside its home country of South Korea, reports Financial Times.
Nearly all smartphone users in South Korea are KakaoTalk users with the service having been launched three years ago. The platform provides instant messaging, photo sharing, mobile games and shopping.
The messaging service is now offered in 230 countries in 13 languages, across all major mobile operating systems. It has seen strong growth in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.
Like some of its rivals, Kakao has diversified into other areas, with its game platform racking up more than 30 million users during the course of its first year. Kakao’s photo sharing service KakaoStory is now offering users the ability to share videos of up to 15 seconds in length, according to The Next Web.
The recent success of messenger apps has been aided by a focus on regional growth and differentiating features, according to App Annie.
And Lee Sir-goo, joint chief executive of Kakao, is a strong believer in localisation: “If you take a mobile app that works in Korea to a foreign market without tailoring it to local tastes, you cannot succeed there. Overcoming cultural differences is the key to spreading your services,” he told FT.
While KakaoTalk’s user numbers are impressive it is some way behind WhatsApp, which recently passed 350 million monthly active users. And WhatsApp is likely to continue its impressive growth having been launched for Nokia’s Asha platform in developing markets.