Naver And Kakao In South Korea Online-To-Offline Battle

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The South Korean internet giants Naver and Kakao are in fierce competition over the country’s online-to-offline market. The two companies are launching rival services in areas such as payments, hair salons, taxi hailing and maps. In 2015, Naver and Kakao both launched their online payments services Kakao Pay and Naver Pay. Now, they have gone one step further by both announcing the launch of their own physical payments cards. The two companies have also said they both plan to launch online hair salon services this year, which will allow users to find and book hairdressers and even pay using an app. The maps and navigation space is another area where fierce competition is predicted. Kakao has already launched a taxi hailing app Kakao Taxi and acquired a navigation app. It plans to launch bus and subway timetable apps later this year, as well as an Uber-style service called Kakao Driver. In response, Naver has said it will update its Naver Maps service to include taxi and navigation tools. South Korea has an internet penetration rate of 92%, equivalent to 45 million people. 

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