SEOUL -- A recent survey conducted by a smartphone app analyst firm unveiled that approximately 70% of South Korean smartphone users have utilized a mobility service app at least once. Mobility services, initially introduced in the country around a decade ago, are predominantly associated with taxi-hailing or ride-hailing services among South Korean individuals.
One of South Korea's most renowned mobility service platforms is Kakao T, offering a comprehensive range of services including taxi-hailing, car parking reservations, electric bicycle rentals, and public transport schedule notifications. In 2015, Kakao introduced Kakao Taxi, revolutionizing taxi-hailing services in South Korea, where traditional methods involved calling for taxis or hailing them on the streets.
Presently, South Korea boasts three major taxi-hailing services: Kakao Taxi, Onda by Tmoney, the country's public transport digital payment system operator, and UT (Uber Taxi), a collaborative effort between American ride-hailing app service operator Uber and South Korean navigation map service operator Tmap.
According to a survey conducted by Wiseapp, encompassing 32.27 million smartphone users who utilized a mobility service app at least once in December 2023, respondents averaged 59 uses and spent an average of 1 hour and 53 minutes utilizing transportation services.
The number of users of mobility service apps in December 2019 stood at 29.18 million and experienced a slight decline to 26.72 million in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as South Korea gradually eased its stringent quarantine measures in 2021, the number surged to a record high in December 2023.
Among map service apps, Naver Map, operated by South Korea's largest web portal operator Naver, emerged as the most popular, boasting a monthly average user base of 25.07 million. Meanwhile, Tmap, South Korea's preferred navigation service app, garnered 11.95 million users.
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