S. Korea’s Kakao Work to rival Slack, messenger platform apps

  • 2020-09-16

Kakao Enterprise Corp., the artificial intelligence service unit of South Korea’s Kakao Corp., has launched a business messenger platform to compete with global business collaboration apps such as Slack to meet growing demand for non-contact communication tools in the coronavirus era.

The Cloud-based business platform, Kakao Work, uses interface similar to the country’s most popular mobile messaging app Kakao Talk, but is tailored to business requirements such as enhanced security and encrypted data, the company said on Sept. 16.

The platform offers messaging, group chats, video meetings in addition to work culture services, including business management tools and organization charts to help search for colleagues on the app.

Kakao Enterprise CEO Baek Sang-yeop unveils Kakao Work, a new business communication and collaboration platform

Kakao Enterprise CEO Baek Sang-yeop unveils Kakao Work, a new business communication and collaboration platform

“Many people think their work isn’t separate from their personal lives by using a single messenger app. We are launching Kakao Work to satisfy a corporate need for enterprise-focused platforms,” said Kakao Enterprise Chief Executive Baek Sang-yeop in Wednesday’s online presentation.

Kakao Work, to be available at three different service rates, will be offered free of charge until Nov. 24.

Industry watchers said Kakao Work will compete against global platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, a business communication tool developed by American software company Slack Technologies Inc. Kakao also faces local competitors, including JANDI, Dooray!, KT Digital Works and Brity Works.

Kakao Work’s video calls support 30 participants at a time, but the number of maximum participants will be raised to 200, the company said.

The company acquired Remote Monster, a Cloud-based local live streaming platform operator, for 5.6 billion won in May to improve the video quality for its conferencing and other video functions.

Video chat on Kakao Work

Video chat on Kakao Work

PANDEMIC FUELS INTEREST IN NON-CONTACT CHANNELS

The coronavirus pandemic has stoked interest among businesses with online and non-face-to-face channels for efficient communication and collaboration among workers.

According to German consumer database company Statista, the global enterprise communication and collaboration platform market is expected to grow to $13.5 billion in 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2019.

A recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, a US human resources management firm, showed that the number of email exchanges and in-house meetings shrank by 49% and 25%, respectively, for companies that use the Slack app.

“We aim to create a new business model for companies through Kakao Work’s custom-tailored services,” said Kakao Enterprise CEO Baek.

Kakao Corp. shares finished 1.1% lower at 377,000 won on Wednesday.

By Min-Ki Koo

kook@hankyung.com

<Edited by In-Soo Nam>