Path’s Acquisition by KakaoTalk Will Be Strategic, Only If It’s True
The rumor has it that KakaoTalk is in the midst of serious talk to acquire Dave Morin’s Path. As popular social media platform in Indonesia, Path’s acquisition may serve as KakaoTalk’s best option to conquer the Indonesian market, something it has yet succeeded to accomplish.
Path has just opened a branch in Indonesia and recruited William Tunggaldjaja as its Country Manager here. The company’s still in the process of finding the best monetization method in Indonesia, including the prospect of establishing partnership with third parties.
I don’t expect Path Talk to join Path’s sales scheme since its potential is apparently more promising than Path’s other services. Thus, selling Path might be Morin’s wise option to leave the market he’s not so familiar with. Path, with all its private services, doesn’t suit Americans who feel Facebook is enough for them, and that isn’t what Morin would want to hear.
To him, Path’s acquisition will spare him more time to generate new products and services that, hopefully, will be welcomed by the Silicon Vally better than Path. Well, they’ve at least started the experiment by releasing Kong recently.
In the messaging segment in Indonesia, KakaoTalk is still left behind compared to LINE or WhatsApp. Although claiming to have 18 million registered users in Indonesia and being considerably active enough in engaging itself with Plus Account, KakaoTalk’s growth has been somewhat stagnant during the past year. KakaoTalk has actually confirmed that it can’t do anything but to focus on localizing its content and spoil loyal consumers.
An ownership on Path might be KakaoTalk’s new ammo to net more new loyal users in Indonesia, even though the product integration should be done smoothly, considering what happened to Facebook’s acquisition toward WhatsApp and Instagram.
It’s almost certain that KakaoTalk won’t fully integrate Path like what Google did when they purchased YouTube and Blogger couple of years ago. Since Path Talk is out of the deal, then it would be best to integrate Path’s messaging service with KakaoTalk. The challenge would of course lie on the consolidation of both services’ users and how to sync users who’ve secured an account at both platforms.
Path’s entrance to KakaoTalk’s portfolio, in our opinion, would be a good point for both parties. As Path finds difficulties in expanding in the U.S while enjoys surprising fame in Indonesia, where monetization is almost not an option, KakaoTalk wants to expand in Indonesia as it’s reached its limit in South Korea and failed to impress Japanese and Chinese population.
Randi Eka Yonida contributed points for this article.