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KakaoTalk has 600k users in Malaysia, targeting 3mil users next year

Friendster Sdn. Bhd a subsidiary of MOL Global has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Kakao Corp., South Korea’s mobile platform giant to promote, market and distribute the Kakao mobile platform in Malaysia. The partnership will cover Kakao’s KakaoTalk and KakaoStory mobile application services including related businesses to these applications such as mobile game channeling, mobile gifting and mobile digital item store.

Friendster-KakaoMalaysia[(L-R: Hans Jo, Chief Marketing Officer, Kakao Corp, Dean Song, Chief Financial Officer, Kakao Corp., Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan, Founder of Berjaya Corporation and Major Shareholder of MOL Global, Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Group CEO of MOL Global, Kenneth Chang, Director of Friendster and Joshua Kang, Chief Strategy Officer, Kakao Corp.]

Friendster has incorporated a new wholly owned subsidiary, Kakao Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. to undertake the operations of the Kakao platform in Malaysia. Kakao Malaysia will be responsible for marketing and promoting the Kakao platform, sourcing local content and game applications for the Kakao platform and procuring advertisers for Kakao’s mobile applications in Malaysia.

KakaoTalk currently has more than 94 million users around the world, across multiple mobile platform including iOS, Android, Windows Phones, BlackBerry and Bada. On a daily basis, the popular mobile chat app draws as many as 5.2 billion messages on a daily basis, in a form of free calls, texts, photos, videos, contacts, information and event schedules. Kakao also offers a wide range of content and services including business marketing, commerce, games, digital content, and fashion. As of to date, a total of 142 games have been introduced to Kakao’s game platform, accumulating up to more than 268 million users across all its games as of May 2013.

In Malaysia, Kakao Malaysia has so far introduced 10 mobile games and will soon launch the mobile digital item store by the end of this year. In term of users, there are more than 600,000 KakaoTalk users in the country with an average 50,000 new users daily. Kakao Malaysia says that it targeting some 3 million users in Malaysia between Q1 and Q2 next year.

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MOL Global’s Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the partnership marks yet another significant milestone for Friendster as part of MOL Global’s focus this year of expanding into the fast growing smartphone mobile content industry. Friendster foresees that the partnership has a great potential for growth in the Malaysian mobile content market scene, as the leading ICT market research firm, IDC reported that the local Smartphone market is to be worth around US$3 billion in 2016.

“Kakao Malaysia will also ride on MOL’s leadership position in the online games payment market in Malaysia where MOL has an estimated 70% market share. As smartphone penetration increases in Malaysia, mobile gaming will become more prevalent and this will allow online games to reach the masses. This will allow local content developers and intellectual property owners to generate a new revenue source from the Kakao platform” Ganesh said.

Kakao Corp.’s Chief Financial Officer Mr. Dean Song said Malaysia, with it’s explosive growth in smartphone use and penetration, is a country of immense growth potential for the mobile industry. We expect to see fast growth for KakaoTalk and services in Malaysia following our strategic partnership with Friendster, the most popular social network service in South East Asia,”

“Kakao has witnessed explosive growth of new markets and opportunities open up when ‘mobile’ and ‘social platform’ were combined with ‘game,’ ‘commerce,’ and other such industries. KakaoTalk, which is shaping the next paradigm of the Korean mobile industry, is increasingly becoming the most noticed mobile service in the globe as it continues to prove the power and influence of its mobile social platform. Leveraging on Kakao’s accumulated know-hows and experience in the mobile platform business, Kakao will join hands with Friendster to open up new opportunities and possibilities in Malaysia,” Dean added.

The exclusive partnership between Friendster and Kakao Corp. was signed by Ganesh Kumar Bangah, the Group Chief Executive Officer of MOL Global who represented Friendster, and Dean Song, Chief Financial Officer of Kakao Corp., who represented Kakao. The event was witnessed by the Major Shareholder of MOL Global, Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

To boost KakaoTalk’s promotional campaign, Kakao Malaysia has started airing TV advertisement and commercials starring Korean K-Pop Group BigBang and Malaysian singer and song writer Yunalis Zarai (Yuna).

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2006. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy