Kakao Mobility global business chief Cho Hye-won speaks during a press event in Seoul, Friday. The ride-hailing company said that it would tap into the U.S. market this year. Photo courtesy of Kakao Mobility

Korean ride-hailing service advances into new markets

South Korea’s Kakao Mobility announced on Sept. 8 that the corporation would launch its ride-hailing service Kakao Taxi in the United States and Australia this year.

Kakao Mobility, which presently offers limited services in around 30 countries outside of South Korea, has strived for expansions across major markets in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Toward that end, the company took over Splyt this March, the London-based startup that helps apps for travel and cab-hailing integrate other services.

Back then, Splyt said that its services were used by 2 billion people across the world through such major players as Uber, Lyft, Grab, Binance, Alipay, Trip.com, and Booking.com.

With the acquisition of Splyt, Kakao Mobility strives to provide differentiated services.

For example, Kakao Mobility users do not have to download apps to take advantage of other ride-hailing or hotel reservation services dominant in other countries.

Kakao Mobility has yet to disclose which apps will be included in the in-bound service list, though.

“We are scheduled to tap into the U.S. and Australian markets within this year and Hong Kong and Taiwan next year,” Kakao Mobility global business chief Cho Hye-won told a media event in Seoul.

“As different states have different standards and regulations, dealing with the U.S. market is particularly important to us. Once we can penetrate there, we expect high gains.”

According to consultancy Statista, the world’s ride-hailing market is expected to grow from $276.9 billion in 2022 to $312.6 billion this year and $359.4 billion in 2027.

Kakao Mobility has headed the South Korean market.

Compared to market leaders, including Uber, Lyft, and Grab, however, Kakao Mobility failed to make its presence felt in the mainstream markets outside of its home country.

Kevin Chung studied literature in Seoul. He is interested in various areas. He can be reached at jumphigher55@aol.com or 82-2-6956-6698.