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Interview

(ITU) (Yonhap Interview) Evernote seeks partnership with Kakao Talk to target S. Korea

2014/10/21 16:45

By Kim Eun-jung

BUSAN, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) - Evernote, one of the leading mobile note-taking service providers, has been working with South Korea's top mobile messenger service, Kakao Talk, to launch a premium service for business users as early as the start of next year, its senior official said Tuesday.

The U.S.-based company, whose application allows for creating and saving documents and notes online, in May 2013 announced its plan to join hands with Kakao Talk to take advantage of the latter's 35 million users.

Although the two companies have been closely collaborating on a premium service for business users, the launch has been somewhat delayed as Kakao had been busy finalizing a merger with South Korea's No. 2 portal Daum.

With the merger process completed earlier this month, Evernote is looking to push the project forward, this time with Daum Kakao, the newly merged entity that now wields strong mobile and portal platforms.

"We're still working very closely with them, but nothing we can announce yet. We're very excited to continue to work with them (to launch the new service) probably early next year," Linda Kozlowski, the vice president of global operations at Evernote, said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency on the sidelines of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference under way here.

Linda Kozlowski, the vice president of global operations at Evernote, said in an interview with Yonhap on Oct. 21, 2014 that her company has been working with South Korea's top mobile messenger service, Kakao Talk, to launch a premium service for business users. (Yonhap) Linda Kozlowski, the vice president of global operations at Evernote, said in an interview with Yonhap on Oct. 21, 2014 that her company has been working with South Korea's top mobile messenger service, Kakao Talk, to launch a premium service for business users. (Yonhap)

Kozlowski expected more opportunities from Kakao's merger with Daum for being able to better target Web client users, whose ratio in Korea is among the highest in the world.

"We had these discussions with Daum as well, and it would be fun to see which way we can take advantage from the merger," the big fan of Kakao Talk said. "South Korea is one of the fastest growing markets in the world."

   Kozlowski said her company is working with Kakao to develop a model for business users to improve teamwork efficiency, saying collaboration with third-party partners has been "extremely successful."

   "We have worked with a lot of other third party developers and platform developers in Korea, so we take learning from them and we actually add it to the product for the world," she said. "That's a big part of what we do for our product development. When we create products, it's premium for everyone."

   The new version would give Kakao Talk users a convenient tool to save their conversations in Evernote and share them with friends or colleagues. For Kakao, this service could pull the firm out of the saturated domestic market.

Kozlowski attributed Evernote's success in the Korean market to the high population of mobile users and advanced infrastructure.

"With prevalence of smartphones all over Korea and the infrastructure that's available here for high-speed Internet connections, etc., I think that's provided a great environment for us to grow," she said.

Having a high ratio of education users also helps.

"I think Korea probably has our largest student user bases as well, which helps us a lot for a long term growth," she said.

The most distinguishing characteristic of Korean users is that they actively adopt the tag structure to organize the information in a much simpler and cleaner way, according to Kozlowski.

"That's something unique we've seen in this market, and it's the way of people organizing things and taking advantage from the tags," she said.

Although smartphones provide basic note-taking and scheduling applications for free, Kozlowski said people pay money to use her company's application because it is fun to use with a friendly design.

"It's not boring business software. It's attractive and something people like to use."

   ejkim@yna.co.kr

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