Kakao, the South Korean company behind Kakao Talk, has continued its push to monetize its popular mobile messaging service after landing its first international ad partner, Tapjoy.
The deal marks Kakao’s first deal with a major ad space provider with global operations, thereby allowing Kakao to widen its international roster of advertisers.
The news come hot on the heels of the Seoul-based firm announcing a deal with IGAWorks, a Korea-based ad firm with international clients. Adding Tapjoy brings new, international opportunities for developers to make money from its fast-growing Kakao Games platform.
In 2012, Kakao reported earning an annual revenue of $42 million, and had its first profitable year, netting $6.5 million. Meanwhile, it’s Kakao Games platform, which launched only last year, has been a boon – the company tells us that its gaming arm itself is generating monthly revenue of approximately $40 million, and that the number of games since last November has increased fivefold to over 130 titles.
Amidst fierce competition in the Asian chat space, the deal with Tapjoy is just one of Kakao’s many recent efforts intended to broaden its influence. Yesterday, launched KakaoHome for Android, a FacebookHome-like launcher that puts Kakao at the center of the user experience. Earlier this month, Kakao announced it would collaborate with Evernote to integrate note-taking and sharing functionality into Kakao Talk, the company’s flagship messaging service.
While Kakao has yet to dominate the whole of Asia as it competes with like-minded messaging apps like Japan’s Line and China’s WeChat, it remains the preferred option for most South Koreas, and last month announced it had garnered 10 million downloads in Japan – a mere ten percent of that app’s global reach.