South Korean chat app KakaoTalk gets serious about Indonesia, partners with Telkomsel telco
December 25, 2012 by Gwendolyn Regina T
Having just passed its 1000th day of existence just a couple of weeks ago with the release of the support of languages like Vietnamese, South Korean mobile messaging app KakaoTalk, gets even more serious about Southeast Asia this time. KakaoTalk has officially announced its partnership with Indonesia’s biggest telco, Telkomsel, to enable carrier billing for its app.
With carrier billing enabled, Telkomsel customers with KakaoTalk can purchase digital items (stickers, emoticons, and themes) with their Pulsa pre-paid credits.
On the social media front, KaKaoTalk has also localized for the market with Indonesia-specific Facebook page and Twitter account. The app is available across the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry platforms and now sees more than 70 million registered users, with 27 million daily uniques. Check out a visual history of their 1000 days, released on 11 December:
Click to see enlarged version.
KaKaoTalk is one of the many mobile messaging apps around the world battling for global dominance. In Asia, we have Japan’s LINE, Taiwan’s Cubie and China’s WeChat, with WeChat currently looking to be the front runner with more than 200 million users. LINE has more than 74 million users, 7-months old Cubie has seen more than 4 million downloads and they also recently raised a Series A round.
To add to the heat, social network giant Facebook was rumored to be considering purchasing WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app mostly used in the English-speaking world. While the rumor of a Facebook-WhatsApp acquisition seems to have died down, to compete with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook recently disabled the need to login through one’s Facebook account to use its Facebook Messenger mobile chat app.
More interestingly, Facebook is also pursuing a simultaneous messaging trend: that of impermanent chats.
There’s a whole generation of youths who have grown up detailing their teenage dalliances on Facebook. While they may have thought them cool when they were 15, their future 24-year-old selves might disagree, and so would their potential employers. Therein lies the rise of a new kind of chat app that allows them to send friends drunken pictures that will disappear forever (presumably) and could be said to have never existed.
Snapchat allows users to send friends pictures that will self-destruct after a maxiumum of ten seconds (and users will be notified if friends take a screenshot!). The 1.5-year-old company sees more than 20 million pictures shared everyday (said to be 50 million now). Facebook Poke currently has more features and content options.
It will be interesting to see how the mobile communication space continues to evolve. From SMS, apps, social networks, de-socialed networks and to messages that never were, companies like KakaoTalk and the like still have much to battle it out.
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About The Author
Gwendolyn Regina T - Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Gwen is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of SGE. Previously, she was a partner of early stage technology investment firm, Thymos Capital and she has had two exits, one of which is iHipo. She is also an investor in Padlet, a Y-Combinator startup. Gwen also sits on the Board of Advisors for the Singapore Innovation & Productivity Institute, Steering Commmittee for the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Awards 2013, and Board of Advisors for Social Media Week 2013. A frequent public speaker, mentor and judge at various startup bootcamps, events and competitions, Gwen loves meeting founders, developers, designers and scientists across all ages. An alumnus of the National University of Singapore and its University Scholars Programme, Gwen also spent some time in Silicon Valley and is a graduate of the NUS-Stanford University overseas college programme. She is also a mentor at Polish tech startup incubator Gamma Rebels, the Singapore curator for US-headquartered StartupDigest and the Singapore Ambassador for the Sandbox Network - the leading global network of innovators under 30. Gwen has also been a Worldwide Judge for Imagine Cup - the premier student technology competition helmed by Microsoft. She has also spoken in Hong Kong at one of its largest youth conferences, MaD Asia, and was recently in Austria to help envision the future of the country's economy in 2032 on invitation from an Austrian governmental organization. Gwen speaks 3.25 languages, loves physics, travelling, dance and adventure sports. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Gwendolyn Regina T