Sirgoo Lee (pictured), co-CEO of Kakao, said the South Korean mobile messaging player aims to go public in 2015, with an acquisition not currently on the agenda.
“Well we haven’t been approached by Facebook yet but we are looking to go public next year,” Lee quipped in an interview with Mobile World Live at Mobile World Congress last week – shortly after the social networking giant announced its planned $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.
Much of the 130 million-strong user base for the KakaoTalk platform is based in South Korea, but it has a growing presence in other markets, with 15 million users in Indonesia and 12 million in Japan.
The executive said Kakao’s success in its home market is down to giving its users value: “We integrate user suggestions into our service on a regular basis and that gives the feel to our users that they’re creating the service together with us and so there’s this strong sense of loyalty among our users.”
The company plans to focus on “countries where smartphones are on the rise”, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillippines, according to Lee. He confirmed that it was this strategy that drove the recent introduction of KakaoTalk on Nokia’s Asha platform, which is aimed at emerging markets.
Turning to monetisation, the executive said the secret is not to think about money, noting that Kakao spent its first five years of existence in the red. “If you have a quality service people will come to you. And if you have a stronger user base, I think revenue will follow,” he added.
You can see the full interview here.