Naver and DaumKakao, major search engines in Korea, launched several mobile-focused services over the past few months to capture more share of the mobile market.
Within the first quarter, Naver launched ‘Post’, a simple blog tool, and ‘Modoo’, a website tool, for mobile users. Sang Bum Kim, multi-media search leader of Naver, said, “Visual content looks more attractive than text only content on a small screen.” DaumKakao, the owner of Daum and Kakaotalk, also launched ‘Plain’, a mobile blog app, and announced the plan to incorporate a search function into Kakaotalk in Q2. With heavy promotions of these mobile services, the two search giants seem to be waging a war against each other to win the mobile market.
Naver added Post in the main search results
Post is a simple mobile blog tool. All the blog posts within Post are searchable and sorted by hashtags (Picture1). Major features include the ability for users to follow influencers and receive updates from them. Also, users can easily move content between Naver blogs and Posts.
Leveraging its leading position, Naver promotes the Post tool by adding it on search results. The number of users on Post have been growing ever since Post was added on Naver search results (Picture2).
Modoo is another new release from Naver. It is a handy mobile website development tool offering many free templates, making it easy for anyone to create a mobile website. Users can also register the website on Naver as well as the Modoo map (Picture3). The tool targets small business owners with limited budget that does not allow them to invest in customized websites. Naver has plans to extend the booking function that is currently available to accommodation and camping industries to more industries in the future. Also, Naver Pay, chat, and coupon functions will be added to make Modoo a more complete offering.
DaumKakao will fire back using the network of Kakaotalk
DaumKakao is the owner of Kakaotalk, a popular chatting app with 38 million monthly users in Korea. It has already launched a mobile blog tool called Kakaostory in 2012, which has become the number one social media in Korea. Since last November, its number of unique visitors dropped. The company attributed this to its limited accessibility of information by already accepted group of people. To allow users access to all articles openly, it launched a mobile blog app, Plain, which is an interest-based social channel with hashtags.
More importantly, DaumKakao announced that search function will be added to Kakaotalk in Q2. DaumKakao was established by Daum, the second biggest search engine in Korea. With the combination of Kakaotalk’s large market and a mature search engine, the addition of this search function will undoubtedly generate a huge impact on the mobile search industry.
In PC search, DaumKakao has lost most of their market share to Naver by now. However, in the new mobile world, the results may reverse. It is still early to determine which one will hold the leading position.