South Korea’s top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp. recorded a 166 percent on-year surge in operating profit in the first quarter ended March this year, with sales reaching all-time high for eight consecutive quarters amid burgeoning platform businesses.
Kakao announced on Thursday that its operating profit in the January to March period reached 27.7 billion won ($23.6 million), soaring 166 percent against a year ago and 544.4 percent against the previous quarter. Sales rose 27.2 percent on year and 4.9 percent on quarter to 706.3 billion won, breaking previous quarterly record for the eighth straight quarter after reaching 468.4 billion won in the second quarter in 2017.
Net figure turned into profit, up 19.9 percent from the previous year to 17.6 billion won.
Shares of Kakao fell 1.56 percent to close Thursday at 126,500 won.
Kakao divided its businesses into two large sectors – platform and content – to enhance efficiency in its business strategies of each sector.
Advertisement of Kakao Talk chat list. [Photo by Kakao Corp.]
Revenue from the platform business jumped 35 percent from the same period a year ago to 313.1 billion won in the first quarter. Among them, sales from Kakao Talk business, its mobile messaging platform, grew 43 percent to 126.9 billion won thanks to brisk advertising and commerce services. Portal business sales were up 4 percent to 126.4 billion won and sales from new businesses including mobility and Kakao Pay surged 172 percent to 59.8 billion won.
The company raked in 393.2 billion won from the content business, up 22 percent from the previous year. On the back of increased subscribers of its music streaming service Melon, it generated 137.2 billion won in sales from music content business, up 9 percent on year. Revenue from paid content jumped 71 percent to 74.6 billion won thanks to the strong performance of its mobile content platform Kakao Page and webtoon platform Piccoma.
Other businesses including intellectual property rights gained 84 percent to 87.3 billion won, driven by expanded profit sources from its entertainment affiliate Kakao M and new subsidiaries, and robust sales of its character licensing arm Kakao IX.
By Oh Dae-seok and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]