Kakao's mobility unit acquires carpool startup

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-02-14 14:44 Updated : 2018-02-14 14:44
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[Kakao Mobility]

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Aju News) -- Helped by the growing popularity of its taxi-hailing app, South Korea's web service giant Kakao disclosed the full acquisition Wednesday of its business partner, Luxi, a leading domestic carpool company that provides services through smartphone apps.

Kakao Mobility, a smart mobility unit which runs its taxi-hailing app "Kakao Taxi", said it would purchase a 100 percent stake in Luxi, which launched its carpool service in 2014. Luxi's customers use smartphone apps to share rides.

"Luxi deeply understands Kakao Mobility's vision of providing faster, safer and convenient transport services," Kakao Mobility said in a statement, adding Luxi would support Kakao T, a call taxi app with 17 million members, and Kakao Driver, a designated driver service mainly used by drunken people wanting to return home by their own cars.

The company said the number of daily calls thorough Kakao T has surged to 2.4 million, causing peak-time congestion.

In South Korea, the smart carpooling industry has seen slow growth, compared to fast and sometimes innovative changes in IT and service-related industries.

Carpooling is allowed during commuting hours. Several companies provide car-sharing services in South Korea but because of regulations, they had to limit their service hours. Kakao Mobility said it would comply with rules. Uber has not been successful because of regulations and protests from taxi companies.