Daum, the second largest web portal in Korea, acquired Korean mobile application SeoulBus that provides local bus information around the Seoul Metropolitan Area.This marks the first buyout since its merger with leading messenger app company Kakao Corp, announced last month.
SeoulBus has been one of the most popular Korean mobile applications since its launch in 2009, with over 10 million downloads and 350,000 registered users. With the acquisition of the most popular bus information provider, Daum Communications is expected to integrate SeoulBus with its existing map service, Daum Maps. Daum Maps already provides bus schedules and fastest bus route searches, but the app lacks certain features on SeoulBus such as push notifications for approaching buses, and scheduled alarms for bus schedules. Extensive data obtained from SeoulBus’s registered users will help Daum improve user experiences with Daum Maps and its location-based services.
When Daum Maps first introduced its bus schedule features, controversy arose surrounding whether Daum copied SeoulBus’ UI design. Both parties have now become free from such accusations.
This acquisition is also seen as a part of Daum and Kakao Corp’s recent efforts to extend its business areas to Online to Offline (O2O) markets that offer services and goods provided by offline retailers to online users.
Daum already provides location-based information and advertises local businesses to its Map users while Kakao launched its own mobile payment application KakaoPay this month, connecting its users to affiliated stores and websites.
Kakao Corp has also introduced map features on its messenger app KakaoTalk, which currently uses Google Maps. While KakaoTalk users can only currently send others address locations via the platform, its recent merger now allows Kakao to leverage Daum map products. For instance, KakaoTalk can now use search results from Daum Maps to push more relevant local advertisements and promotions.
The specific terms of acquisition and plans for platform integration remain unknown. For now, the confirmed next step joining the two platforms is to migrate all user data from SeoulBus to Daum.