Phoebe Magdirila
Phoebe Magdirila
8:00 pm on Aug 20, 2013


Korea’s KakaoTalk has just been launched in the Philippines some two weeks ago, where it rolled out a series of TV advertisements featuring Philippine singer Sarah Geronimo and Korean pop band Big Bang. Following this, today, KakaoTalk Philippines claims that it is now the number one chat app in the Philippines both on Android and iOS.

However, we don’t have yet the actual number of downloads KakaoTalk earned in the Philippines. App store rankings are based on the recent download spike, not total downloads. So while at this point Kakaotalk leads the charts in the Philippines we couldn’t officially say yet that it is the most used in the country. But if it were so, for KakaoTalk to reach the top spot in just two weeks is quite fast and unexpected, considering its rather late entry in the Philippines. Prior to its launch this month, Viber, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat were already battling to get more user bases in the Philippines. But, you may ask, what did KakaoTalk do to make this happen?

Apart from the TV ads, the two stars are also featured on KakaoTalk’s Plus Friend channel, the chat app’s interactive advertisement platform, where users can add Sarah and BigBang’s official accounts to their Friends’ list to receive the latest updates and content – such as pictures and videos – from the stars. Free BigBang and Sarah Geronimo animated emoticons and stickers, are also available for those who download the app.

Creating more features

Both the artists have a huge following in the country, which could be a possible driver for its growth. And KakaoTalk mentions that it also has plans to partner with more celebrities and companies in the Philippines.

Tim Jang, KakaoTalk Philippines director says, more than the free messages and calls, the local team is now “working on creating localized stickers and content that are more appealing and relatable to Filipino users.” Director Tim Jang says more:

KakaoTalk has more fun features that we have yet to introduce to Filipinos. By listening to our users, we can customize the application’s features based on their wants and needs. We look forward to launching them here in the future.


(Source: KakaoTalk Philippines Facebook page)

It’s also getting quite good attention on social media sites. Its Facebook page already has almost 5,000 likes, and just this week #KakaoTalkPH was one of the trending topics on Twitter.

But I must say, KakaoTalk’s strategy is something we have seen before with its competitors. Wechat Philippines also had a boost in its user downloads after it launched its TV ads, and Line Philippines likewise gave out free sticker downloads of its Philippine ambassadors. Nonetheless, while this isn’t something new, it looks to be working, and KakaoTalk has done it pretty fast.

According to KakaoTalk Philippines, the impressive results can be credited to its aggressive efforts, which include the app’s features and the events they organize for the local community. One of which is Lucky Fans Night where 20 fans will be chosen to hang out with the KakaoTalk endorsers for the evening. The next question is, how long will KakaoTalk be able to retain its lead, and will its plan to launch more localized features help retain this position? Let’s wait and see.

(Editing by Anh-Minh Do and Paul Bischoff)

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