“Competition between local companies is now meaningless,” the ICT industry said following the announcement of a share exchange deal between SK Telecom and Kakao Group. Since the advent of KakaoTalk in 2010, the two companies were often found at odds with each other. Kakao encroached into SKT’s cell phone texting market, which was once worth 1 trillion won a year, before shaking their market footing of voice phone calls with its VoiceTalk feature.
The rivalry between the two mobile communications giants remains fierce in various fields of industry from the competition in the music streaming platform between Melon and Flo, to the mobility platform divided by T Map and Kakao T, to their burgeoning AI service that is turning into as a showdown between SKT’s Nugu and Kakao i.
Following the latest announcement, however, such businesses are breaking away from the framework of competition towards partnership. The companies will start sharing rather than fighting by pairing SKT’s 5G AR services with KakaoTalk or linking Kakao’s shopping features with 11STREET, SKT’s online shopping mall. Another plausible collaboration would be creating content capitalizing on Kakao’s wealth of intellectual property rights to characters, webtoons, or web novels, and showcase them exclusively on Btv or Wave, SKT’s IPTV and OTT platforms respectively.
Tae-Ho Hwang email@example.com