Kakao looking into new sectors for growth
[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s largest mobile messenger firm Kakao said on Feb.8 that it would continue to implement aggressive investment strategies this year to maintain its growth momentum.
“It is now time to invest aggressively in segments where we see bigger opportunities,” said Rim Ji-hoon, the outgoing CEO of Kakao, on a conference call, citing the company’s investments in new businesses in 2017, including artificial intelligence speakers, a content platform for the Japanese market, and internet-only firm Kakao Bank.
Kakao CEO Rim Ji-hoon.
A fund worth 1 trillion won (US$920 million) raised for the aim of issuing global depository receipts to attract global investors is also in line with the investment plan, the CEO said.
Rim, who took the helm of the mobile messenger company in April 2015, is scheduled to step down in March. In his place, Yeo Min-soo, Kakao’s advertising chief, and brand design head Joh Su-yong will serve as co-CEOs.
According to Kakao’s earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2017, the company posted 544.7 billion won in sales, up 20 percent on-year, while its operating profit decreased 9 percent from a year earlier to 34.7 billion won.
The company saw sales from its advertising, content and commerce platforms increase 13 percent, 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
For the entire 2017, the firm posted a record 1.97 trillion won, with its operating income standing at 165 billion won. Annual sales and operating profit increased 35 percent and 42 percent on-year, respectively.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)