Google will take a stake of nearly 1.7% in the South Korean MaaS platform
Kakao Mobility, a South Korean taxi-hailing company, has bagged an investment of KRW56.5bn ($50.1m) from internet giant Google.
The equity investment gives Google a stake of 1.69% in the mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) platform, which is owned by South Korean internet company Kakao. It values the company at KRW3.35 trillion.
With the investment, Google and the Korean taxi-hailing company have agreed to work together in developing cloud-based artificial intelligence technology. The partners will look to create synergy between the internet giant’s services and the Korean firm’s platform.
Kakao Mobility CEO Ryu Gung-seon, has been quoted by Aju Business Daily, as saying: “We will maximize synergy to grow into a global key player through long-term cooperation with Google and play a role as a hub to help competent Korean companies realize innovative services.”
Kakao Mobility’s transportation service app, which is called Kakao T, is said to have 28 million registered users. Kakao T provides taxi-hailing service, designated driver, nearby parking search, electric bike hire, navigation, real-time traffic information, and other transportation services.
Kakao T was launched in Japan in May 2017 through a partnership with JapanTaxi.
In February 2021, global investment firm Carlyle Group agreed to make an investment of $200m in the South Korean taxi-hailing company.
Kakao Mobility was founded in 2015 as a business unit of Kakao. It was subsequently spun-off in 2017 by the South Korean mobile lifestyle platform company.
In March 2021, Kakao Mobility acquired Hyundai Capital’s car-sharing app DelCar for about $7.1m.
The Korean firm has also been developing its autonomous driving technology.