​Kakao's mobility service wing push to release van-hailing service in Jeju Island

By Park Sae-jin Posted : May 18, 2023, 14:10 Updated : May 18, 2023, 14:10

[Courtesy of Kakao Mobility]

SEOUL -- Kakao Mobility, the mobility service wing of South Korea's web service giant Kakao, is pushing to release its van-hailing service in the southernmost resort island of Jeju. The island with an iconic dormant volcanic mountain was visited by some 14 million tourists in 2022.
Jeju with a population of about 700,000 is one of the popular tourist spots frequently visited by South Korean and Chinese tourists. While tourists participating in package tour programs travel around the island by chartered buses, individual or private group tourists have to either rent a car or ride a taxi because Jeju has a very weak public transport infrastructure. Tourist groups of more than four people have to rent two passenger cars or a large van if they do not wish to call two taxis.
Kakao jumped into the domestic ride-hailing mobility service market in 2015 by releasing Kakao Taxi, a taxi-hailing service. The company broadened its scope of business by adding other services which customers could use for calling vans and designated drivers. The mobility service division was separated into Kakao Mobility, a subsidiary, in 2017 to provide Kakao T, a smartphone app that integrates all of Kakao's mobility-related services including navigation, cab-hailing, and map services.
Kakao Mobility will hold a business conference on May 18 to encourage private taxi drivers to adopt Kakao's call van service. There are some 30,000 rental cars in Jeju, but no mobility platform operator provides a large vehicle-hailing service. There are plenty of demand in Jeju for van-hailing services as many people visit Jeju to play golf and sightseeing. The resort island is also favored by families with small children and it is inevitable for parents to carry around many bags when they travel with their kids.
"It is true that we are holding a conference to promote the adoption of our van-hailing service but nothing is fixed yet. We are not considering expanding our business to non-suburban areas other than Jeju," a Kakao Mobility official told Aju Business Daily. 
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