Kakao reorients by changing name

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Kakao reorients by changing name

Daum Kakao will now be known as simply Kakao, the company said on Tuesday.

The change comes a year after Daum, a leading portal operator, joined with the nation’s top mobile messenger app KakaoTalk, in one of the biggest mergers in Korean IT history.

Kakao stated Tuesday that the move is meant to cement the company’s corporate identity as a firm focused on mobile platforms. It added that the new name will be officially adopted after a shareholders’ meeting on Sept. 23, which will be followed by a new corporate image.

Kakao downplayed the significance of the move, saying that it reflected a shift in the company’s future business direction but not in its structure.

The company added that the name Daum Kakao didn’t capture its corporate identity.

“Although [Daum Kakao] has strengths both on portal services with Daum and mobile platforms with KakaoTalk, the name Daum Kakao obfuscates the company’s identity.”

The name Daum will be scrapped from the company’s banner, but will continue as the name of its portal site.

The announcement comes at a time when the company has been undergoing a series of changes and expansions. One of the biggest changes in recent months was the appointment of a 35-year-old venture capitalist as CEO of the company, replacing co-CEOs Choi Sae-hoon, who came from Daum, and Lee Sir-goo.

The company has also announced plans to expand into the financial industry, with intentions of setting up a consortium with Korea Investment Holdings to establish a web-based bank.

Kakao’s intentions to enter the financial industry weren’t a surprise, however. The announcement came after it had introduced a series of finance-related services like KakaoPay and Bank Wallet Kakao, a mobile money transfer service.

Kakao said that it has been preparing to enter the web-based bank market by setting up a task force earlier this year.

Another recent focus for the company has been its taxi-hailing app KakaoTaxi.

The company is planning to diversify the brands and models of taxis,
as well as expand the number of

Kakao has also said it will add a premium option to the service starting in October, with 100 luxury taxis - all either Mercedes-Benz or BMW models - hitting the streets in a trial run.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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