Seoul, South Korea - Kakao Mobility will expand its cab-hailing service, Kakao Taxi, to the U.S. and Australia, marking a significant step in its global growth.
Why it matters:
The move provides insight into the competitive landscape of the global ride-hailing industry.
The Key Points
Kakao Mobility's expansion strategy revolves around its "global super app" vision. This initiative, which leverages Splyt's "global integration system" operating in 32 countries, aims to consolidate multiple services.
Users could hail rides, make reservations, and perform other travel-related activities through a single platform, the Kakao T app.
- Kakao Mobility is launching in the US and Australia, with plans for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Middle East next year.
- The company's recent acquisition of London-based Splyt, which connects various travel apps, facilitates this expansion.
- A "global super-app" is in the works to centralize services from ride-hailing to booking accommodations.
- Different state regulations in the U.S. present challenges and opportunities for Kakao Mobility in its U.S. venture.
- But navigating this complex regulatory environment could also pave the way for rewarding strategic alliances.
The Big Picture
In terms of improving the user experience, the strategy is twofold.
First, it aims to simplify travel arrangements for international visitors to Korea, allowing users of global ride-hailing platforms like Uber to access Kakao Taxi while in South Korea.
Second, direct partnerships will be pursued in areas where Splyt does not have partners. An example of this approach is the partnership with Miki Taxi in Guam.
With the acquisition of Splyt in March, Kakao Mobility strengthened its capabilities and made its first international acquisition since parting ways with its parent company, Kakao, in 2017.
Splyt's model, which has already partnered with global companies such as Uber and Booking.com, makes accessing different transportation services easier without downloading multiple apps.
Such a system has potential implications for outbound travelers using Kakao T for local bookings and inbound travelers to South Korea who may soon be able to use their native apps to hail Kakao Taxi services.
As the company continues expanding its footprint, it's clear that Kakao Mobility is strategically positioning itself as an essential critical in global travel and mobility.