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South Korea's quirky messaging apps go on offensive in text-happy Indonesia

Published on Mar 10, 2014 6:20 AM
 
South Korea's pioneering mobile messaging apps like KakaoTalk (logo above) have taken their oversized emoticons to Indonesia, intent on breaking the dominance of BlackBerry Ltd's BBM messaging service in one of the world's most active social media markets. -- FILE PHOTO: KAKAOTALK  

SEOUL/JAKARTA (REUTERS) - South Korea's pioneering mobile messaging apps have taken their oversized emoticons to Indonesia, intent on breaking the dominance of BlackBerry Ltd's BBM messaging service in one of the world's most active social media markets.

Kakao Corp has hired pop stars and Naver Corp unit Line Corp has partnered Samsung Electronics Co in a country whose capital Jakarta boasts the most users of Twitter Inc's microblog by city, according to researcher McKinsey & Company.

BBM has long been Indonesia's most popular messaging app, with Facebook Inc's US$19 billion (S$24 billion) buyout target WhatsApp in pursuit. But KakaoTalk and Line have connected with younger users by also offering voice calls, games, shopping, merchandise and stickers, or message-conveying cartoons.

Under-30s make up over half of the 240 million Indonesians, where just 20 per cent use smartphones, making the country a prime growth market for app makers. Estimates put smartphone use at 50 per cent before the end of the decade, by which time messaging apps' global revenue could be over US$24 billion.

 
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