Google to invest $44mn in South Korean taxi-hailing firm Kakao Mobility

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Kakao T
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US-based search engine giant Google is all set to make an investment of more than $44.15 million in South Korea’s leading taxi-hailing and parking services company Kakao Mobility. 

According to a regulatory filing done by the Pangyo, Seongnam-based taxi-hailing service, the tech giant is expected to acquire $50.1 million worth of new shares as part of the transaction.

The deal will grant Google a 1.69 percent stake in Kakao Mobility, valuing the firm at $2.96 billion. Kakao Mobility which operates its service under the name of Kakao T has close to 28 million users.

As part of the agreement, the two firms will also collaborate over the development of cloud-based artificial intelligence technology while creating operational synergies between Google services and Kakao Mobility’s platform.

Information about the deal is revealed at a time when Kakao Mobility is facing intense competition from market newcomer UT, a joint venture between T Map Mobility, a subsidiary of South Korea’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom, and the U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber.

According to regional media reports, UT, which is set to unveil its new service in the middle of the year is expected to combine Uber’s existing fleet of vehicles with T Map Mobility.

T Map Mobility’s service, T Map Taxi, is reportedly the second-largest in the country with 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly active users.

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