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Malaysian, South Korean partnership to support content developers, IP owners

AvantiKumar | June 13, 2013
Friendster, Kakao to promote Kakao mobile platform to gain a slice of the Malaysian smartphone market.

Friendster, Kakao deal in KL modified

Photo - (From left) 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 a major shareholder of MOL Global; Kenneth Chang, Director of Friendster;and Joshua Kang, Chief Strategy Officer, Kakao Corp.

Malaysia-based social network Friendster has signed an exclusive agreement with South Korea's Kakao to promote the Kakao mobile platform in Malaysia, which will support content developers and intellectual property owners in the mobile content industry, said the partners.

Under the agreement, a new subsidiary Kakao Malaysia will promote the Kakao platform by sourcing local content and game applications and secure advertisers in Malaysia. The partnership will cover Kakao's KakaoTalk and KakaoStory mobile application services including related businesses to these applications, which include mobile game channelling, mobile gifting and mobile digital item store, said Ganesh Kumar Bangah, the chief executive officer of MOL Global, which owns Friendster,

"This 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," said Bangah. "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 estimates the local smartphone market will 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 percent market share," he said. "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."

"Malaysia, with its explosive growth in smartphone use and penetration, is a country of immense growth potential for the mobile industry," said Kakao Corp. chief financial officer, Dean Song. "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."

 Explosive growth

"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," said Song.

"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," he said, adding that Kakao was the number one free app in the Malaysian Apple App Store.

Song said KakaoTalk has more than 94 million users around the world, making it one of the world's largest cross-platform mobile group-messaging applications for iOS, Android, Windows Phones, BlackBerry and Bada in the world.

"The 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," he said. "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. Kakao and 'for Kakao' applications currently take up the majority of the top 10 grossing applications on the App Store and Google Play in Korea."

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).


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