The Korea Herald


Kakao posts record annual sales of W8.1tr in 2023

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 15, 2024 - 17:54

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Kakao's logo is seen at the company's Pangyo headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. (Im Se-jun/The Korea Herald) Kakao's logo is seen at the company's Pangyo headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. (Im Se-jun/The Korea Herald)

Kakao said Thursday it logged all-time high annual sales in 2023 due to increased profitability from its mobile messenger, KakaoTalk.

The IT giant reported 8.11 trillion won ($6.08 billion) in sales last year, up 14.1 percent from a year earlier. It marks the first time for the company surpassing the 8 trillion won mark in annual sales.

Annual net profit, however, fell 13.5 percent on-year to 501.9 billion won and it shifted to a net loss of 1.5 trillion won, from a net profit of 1.07 trillion won in 2022.

In the fourth quarter alone, its operating profit surged 109 percent on-year to 189.2 billion won, while sales added 23 percent on-year to hit a quarterly high of 2.17 trillion won.

Despite strong sales, an increase in non-operating costs widened its net loss to 1.66 trillion won in the October-December period, compared with 486 billion won a year ago.

Kakao's flagship platform business saw 1.1 trillion won in sales in the fourth quarter, up 17.1 percent from a year earlier, while sales of its content business surged 30 percent on-year to 1.05 trillion won, thanks to the solid revenue increase in the music division.

Following the earnings reports release on the full year and the fourth quarter, the company's CEO hinted that the IT giant will continue to pursue the same business strategies with the new chief, who seeks to take up the post next month.

"There was no major disagreement with (the CEO nominee) about the business direction I carried out last year and we'll proceed with the business with continuity," the CEO Hong Eun-taek said during the company’s earnings conference.

Thursday’s earnings call marked Hong’s last earnings announcement as the company’s chief, since the CEO nominee Chung Shin-a is set to replace him once she receives approval from the board of directors and gains a nod from the shareholders at a separate meeting at the end of next month.

While the IT giant began a reform drive to reverse the negative public sentiment toward the company, Hong asked for continued interest in its new management's efforts to carry out a comprehensive restructuring of its services and businesses, including management personnel.

Kakao also unveiled its goal of taking the lead in spreading artificial intelligence services across the country by incorporating its Korean language-based AI language model called KoGPT into the company's various services.

Meanwhile, Kakao shares rose 7.83 percent from the previous session's close and ended trading at 59,200 won on Thursday.