April 22, 2024

Kakao posts record earnings in Q3

PUBLISHED : November 05, 2020 - 16:25

UPDATED : November 05, 2020 - 16:26

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Kakao, the operator of South Korea’s largest mobile messenger platform, announced on Nov. 5 that the company had posted record-high sales and operating profit in the third quarter this year.

The company’s sales in the three-month period reached 1.1 trillion won ($973.38 million), up 41 percent on-year, according to the company’s regulatory filing Thursday. Its operating profit during the same period rose 103 percent on-year to 120.2 billion won, the company added. 

Kakao’s recent performance is largely the result of improved earnings from advertising and from the company’s new businesses, including its mobility and in-app payment and banking services, according to the company.

Sales from its platform-related businesses totaled 554.4 billion won: 284.4 billion won from businesses on messenger application Kakao Talk, 121.2 billion won from its search portal and 148.8 billion won from its new businesses.

Sales from Kakao Talk-related businesses went up 75 percent on-year to 284.4 billion won. The growth of Kakao Talk-related businesses was attributable to the increasing numbers of users and advertisers, the company said.

The number of monthly active users of Kakao Talk is now around 46 million, up 1.06 million on-year. User activities increased by 12 percent and text messages increased by 31 percent, the company added.

Kakao said it had seen a dramatic increase in the number of users of its in-app search tool Sharp Search, which enables QR check-in services, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company plans to introduce ads in the search tab this month, which are expected to ramp up sales down the road.

The cumulative number of advertisers for the in-app KakaoTalk Biz Board came to some 12,000 in the third quarter, surpassing its target of 10,000.

Combined sales from Kakao subsidiaries operating new businesses -- including the company’s payment and taxi-hailing units -- grew 139 percent on-year to post 148.8 billion won.

Kakao said the transaction volume for its payment service in the third quarter reached 17.9 trillion won, an increase of 38 percent on-year. The cumulative transaction volume this year is 47 trillion won, eclipsing total transactions for last year. Kakao’s transaction volume target for the end of this year is 70 trillion won.

Kakao added that it is trying to increase partnerships with foreign vendors to expand transactions made through its payment service. Kakao Pay’s current foreign partners include Apple App Store, Google Play and AliExpress.

Meanwhile, Kakao’s sales from content-related businesses grew 26 percent on-year to 546 billion won: 150.4 billion won from the mobile game unit, 155 billion won from music streaming services, 148.4 billion won from online cartoon and novel services, and 91.5 billion won from the company’s other intellectual property.

Sales from paid content in the third quarter soared 61 percent to 148.4 billion won, backed by the growth of Kakao Japan‘s online comic unit Piccoma.

The launch of mobile game Guardian Tales helped Kakao’s game unit grow 52 percent on-year to 150.4 billion won.

By Shim Woo-hyun (

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