Korea’s Kakao, the internet giant behind the country’s top messaging app, is actively seeking overseas investment opportunities after it raised $1 billion via a placement.
Kakao is valued at over $7 billion and its services are used by more than 40 million people. The company, which counts Tencent as an early investor, now appears to be making good on its long-standing plan to venture overseas.
That’s because last week it announced it had successfully sold global depositary receipts (GDRs) to foreign investors following a roadshow that generated “overwhelming interest.” It now plans to list them on the Singapore Exchange in early February. Kakao is already listed in Korea courtesy of its merger with Korean internet giant Daum in 2014.
Beyond its Kakao Talk messaging app, the company has forayed into a range of services that include mobile payments, ride-hailing (via a spin-out), games, banking, music streaming and even fresh produce sales for farms.
This new money will be put to work expanding its reach outside of Korea through “global content platforms, with particular focus in mobile content businesses, including game, comics, music and video,” the company said. Kakao added it will also look to investment in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
Already, it has seen success in neighboring Japan via Piccoma, a manga app that Kakao claims has reached one million daily users. Bloomberg reported last year that Kakao was considering a Japan-based listing off the back of the success of the app, which competes with manga services from the likes of messaging app Line, Japan’s top chat service.