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Business trends

East Asia's reigning chat apps zero in on home turf

Line, Kakao and WeChat look to finance and mobility as US giants dominate abroad

East Asia's leading chat app operators are mostly popular within their home markets: China for Tencent's WeChat, Japan for Line, and South Korea for Kakao.
East Asia's leading chat app operators are mostly popular within their home markets: China for Tencent's WeChat, Japan for Line, and South Korea for Kakao.   © Reuters

SEOUL/TOKYO/GUANGZHOU -- Japan, China and South Korea's dominant chat app operators are leveraging their huge domestic user bases to dive into fields like finance and mobility, finding overseas growth blocked by American social media titans.

South Korea's Kakao is working to build an ecosystem spanning services like transportation and lending through its KakaoPay digital wallet service. "In 2019, our investments until now should come to fruition and sales growth should accelerate, said Bae Jae-hyun, an executive vice president in charge of management strategy.

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