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KakaoTalk Growing Rapidly in Indonesia, Planning Something Big

Aulia Masna - 16 November 2013

Kakao is apparently comfortable with KakaoTalk’s position in Indonesia. Despite lagging in popularity compared to its competitors, KakaoTalk remains within the top 15 on Google Play in Indonesia and the company is pressing on with a new program that it claims will improve its revenue and popularity.

Mario Nicolas, Kakao’s product manager for Indonesia, told DailySocial that following the recent update to the app earlier this month, Kakao is planning for “something big” before the end of the year. What the program is, he declined to elaborate, “just wait and see”, he said.

He admitted that competition is tough but if Kakao isn’t happy with its progress in the country, the team of nine people in Indonesia “wouldn’t still be here”. “Jabodetabek is still our number one market, naturally, but we are growing well outside of the capital. We’ve discovered that people tend to associate one activity with one app, and we’re happy with our daily active user numbers”. Nicolas declined to reveal the numbers but he did say that people use KakaoTalk’s text messaging and free calls quite a lot, “we are growing at a rapid pace”.

With the upcoming 4G LTE networks being rolled out to the public, Kakao is looking forward to deliver a more robust messaging experience with photos and videos. Its recent update for the Android app, version 4.1, was optimized for the Indonesian market. The company “has taken into consideration a very strong need among Indonesian users to create and share pictures with ease”, according to an official statement.

Its Image Relay feature, new in KakaoTalk 4.1, was designed to make it much easier and faster for people to share and display pictures as well as adding filters and stickers to make things more fun.

Nicolas’ remarks regarding usage cases isn’t exactly surprising. The field of messaging applications may be quite crowded but people do have multiple messaging apps installed on their devices, allowing for many to co-exist, serving different purposes and groups of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, even if the services are identical or similar between one another.

There are people who refuse to move away from BlackBerry Messenger for example, and many insist on using WhatsApp. Some people prefer Line, others like KakaoTalk. To have every one of your contacts migrate to a single messaging platform is impossible, therefore people end up having to install and register to several different services.

KakaoTalk has over 110 million users across the world according to figures revealed in September of this year, a growth of at least 10 million since June with Indonesia among its top countries. Its revenue from games hit USD 311 million for the first half of 2013, a significant rise from “merely” USD 105 million at the end of 2012.

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