Outside of China, Facebook has considerable influence over the instant messaging market – with either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger typically topping the table in most countries.
But this isn’t the case in every market. In Japan, for example, it’s LINE which is the dominant name, just as Skype has the lead in Russia and Poland. In South Korea, meanwhile, Kakao Talk is in complete control: over two fifths of online adults in that market are active on the service.
Kakao’s next most important market is Indonesia. Here, though, it’s only 1 in 8 who are using the platform, and Kakao is having trouble challenging the dominance of BBM.
These trends go a long way to explaining why Kakao has just acquired Path, a rival social network/instant messaging app that has a small presence in its home country of the US but which is being used by 15% of online adults in Indonesia.
Overall in Indonesia, Path is only slightly ahead of Kakao Talk. But look at the key 16-24 age group and Path has a 2:1 lead over its rival. Clearly, then, Kakao wants to grow in Indonesia and it is Path which can provide the way forward.
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