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Tech firms expand mobile payment services offline

Aug 05. 2019
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By The Korea Herald

Seeking to introduce a series of advanced mobile payment services targeting the offline market this year, tech companies are up for heated competition over the smartphone-based payment market in Korea.

Dominant Korean internet portal Naver said last month that it would soon launch a mobile payment system available at local stores and restaurants. Combined with its incumbent Naver Pay mobile payment platform, offline service “Table Order” is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year.

Messenger app service Kakao is seeking to incorporate Kakao Pay into an automated chatting service, where consumers can order food and make payments. The advanced chatbot service is expected to become available for commercial service by the end of this year. 

“In order to expand the service into every corner of daily life, we are going to work with various partners to diversify user experience,” Kim Yoo-mi, who leads the chatbot business at Kakao, said at a press conference in Seoul last month. 

The moves came amid the growing expansion of the mobile payments market in Korea, where an increasing number of consumers use smartphones to purchase items. From a phone manufacturer to internet companies, efforts are underway to make the payment easier with smartphones both offline and online.

According to data from the Financial Supervisory Service, about 80 trillion won ($66 billion) was transacted via mobile payment systems last year, up 60 percent from a year prior.

Still, mobile payment services in Korea appear to be much more frequent in online markets than offline stores like street shops and restaurants. Among the 80 trillion won transacted via mobile payments in 2018, just 19 trillion won was spent at offline markets.   

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