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Will Freenow come under the wings of Kakao Mobility and is this a new phase in global mobility, especially in Europe?

The future of our mobility will increasingly be driven by AI. That said, South Korea's Kakao will continue to turn heads. After previous acquisition discussions with FREENOW about a possible takeover, the South Korean platform continues its global conquest. It is preparing to cross new boundaries by expanding its taxi service to five new countries. Kakao Mobility confirms the company's ambition to become an important player in the international mobility sector.

Kakao T will join five new countries, expanding its network to 37 destinations. These include Australia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Kuwait. From now on, these countries will have access to Kakao T's taxi service, originally developed in Korea. But the aggressive rollout of Kakao Mobility doesn't stop there.

Starting next month, the Korean company plans to expand its footprint in the United States. To this end, it wants to forge closer ties with local mobility giant Lyft. An alliance intended to strengthen Kakao T's presence in the US market, known for its complex mobility dynamics. There is no doubt that the mobility world is about to undergo a major transformation with Kakao Mobility at the helm.

“We will leapfrog to become a truly global mobility service by creating and growing several global business portfolios, including on-demand transportation services abroad.”

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Photo: Yoon Suk Yeol, President South Korea

A few weeks ago, the South Korean tech giant faced a number of complaints about monopolistic practices. These allegations followed an investigation ordered by South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol.

With more than 90% of the Korean taxi market, Kakao Mobility began its international expansion in Japan in 2018. Since then, the company has expanded its influence by building local partnerships and investing in dedicated infrastructure. This strategy has opened Kakao T's doors to foreigners in Korea, strengthening their local position. As part of its new strategy, Kakao T's taxi fares will be adapted to the specifics of each country.

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takeover

In what is undoubtedly the most unexpected news of the year, earlier this month Kakao Mobility Corp. announced plans to FREENOW to take over. A bold acquisition of one of Europe's leading multimodal platforms, positioning Kakao as a competitor to global heavyweights such as Uber. Backed by the BMW Group and Daimler AG, FREENOW is now one of the leading transport service providers in Europe. With a planned offer of 200 billion won for an 80% stake, this initiative aims to strengthen Kakao's presence in the global market. 

However, legal challenges coupled with recent charges against Kakao Mobility executives could complicate the closing of the transaction. A few weeks ago, the South Korean tech giant faced a number of complaints about monopolistic practices. These allegations followed an investigation ordered by South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol. To date, Kakao Mobility controls more than 90% of the South Korean taxi market.

Illustrative photo: Kakao Corp.

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