In 2014, top apps were for delivery, home rental, messaging

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In 2014, top apps were for delivery, home rental, messaging

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There is no denying that we have entered the age of mobile applications.

And with app usage still rising, consumers now spend more time on their phones than ever before, showing that we have fully transformed into an app-driven society.

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More than 70 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions in Korea are for smartphones, so it is no surprise that apps have become the primary way people communicate, shop, organize, play and even work.

Looking at the most popular items on Apple’s App Store, Google Play or the list of the best iPhone apps of the year, it is obvious that developers are constantly trying to create content to grab the attention of users who are on the lookout for apps that will simplify their lives.

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The following are the mobile apps that have drawn the most attention in 2014 as well as the ones to watch in 2015.

Baedal Minjok (Delivery Nation)

This app, which allows a user to search for restaurants and make delivery orders, became one of the most popular ones in Korea last year.

Baedal Minjok was the most successful delivery app because of its huge database of 140,000 restaurants. In one month, it processed four million orders.

Because the late-night snack crowd is always in need of food delivery, especially fried chicken, the app is a must-have for people who like to go out and a huge boost for the restaurants that are listed on it.

According to Google Play in March, Baedal Minjok was installed on at least five million devices, accounting for more than 10 of Korea’s population, which is an astounding download rate for a three-year-old app. It is now worth 1 trillion won ($910 million) and has 2.7 million visitors per month.

The company’s creative ads on TV and banners on buses and in subway stations has added to its popularity among people in their 20s and 30s.

While the app is a simple way to get food to your door in under 30 minutes, it has also been controversial because of the high commission fee it charges restaurants. Critics have said that the fees are particularly unfair for independently run restaurants.

But the app says it does not charge commission fees for orders placed via a phone call and that its commission charge for online orders is fair, at 5.5 to 9 percent of the order price.

The delivery app’s high point came last year when it raised investment of 40 billion won from Goldman Sachs. It is expected to use the capital to develop new technology and improve its existing services.

Telegram

As people tried to dodge the Korean government’s online snooping, “cyberasylum” became a buzzword last year and Telegram gained many local users.

More than 400,000 users of KakaoTalk, the nation’s largest mobile messenger, migrated to the Germany-based messenger service Telegram because it was considered free from government spying.

The fear came after President Park Geun-hye demanded that the Justice Ministry and the prosecution take stronger action to stop the spread of defamatory rumors and groundless slander about the president in cyberspace.

As of October, there were more than 2.6 million Telegram users in Korea. It was also popular because it provides encryption between the client and the server, which is in Germany.

Telegram is also known for its strict protection of users’ privacy.

Subscribers can set a time period after which point their messages will be automatically deleted.

Jikbang

Jikbang provides information on studio or one-bedroom apartments available for rent.

Real estate agents upload the rooms on the app and users can contact the agents after looking at photos and the price.

Jikbang updates its information daily and has about 30,000 rooms listed, with more than 100,000 people inquiring about them each day.

Its popularity has been growing steadily and it was the eighth most popular app on Google Play in June.

The app has received 9 billion won from investors.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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