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South Korean super app Kakao's outage reveals growing pains

Fast-moving tech group to face earnings pressure from higher system investments

Kakao controls around 90% of South Korea's ride-hailing market. (Photo by Ahn Seong-bok)

SEOUL -- After years of rapid growth, South Korean tech group Kakao is under pressure to invest more in its infrastructure after a server fire in October knocked out online services used by tens of millions across the country.

With 47.6 million monthly users -- equal to over 90% of the South Korean population -- the KakaoTalk messaging app is pervasive in the country for both personal and business communications. KakaoTalk accounts can also be linked to a wide range of other services, from payments to ride-hailing and GPS.

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