Kakao Mobility announces cheaper membership category for taxi drivers amid monopoly criticism

December 13, 2023

Kakao Mobility Corp., the operator of South Korea’s leading taxi-hailing service, said Wednesday it will introduce a new membership category for registered taxi drivers with cheaper commissions from drivers.

Kakao Mobility said in a press release that the new membership for drivers will require 2.8 percent commission from taxi drivers, compared with the current 4 to 5 percent level, as part of efforts to relieve the drivers’ financial burden.

The company also said it will improve the service’s matching quality between drivers and taxi users.

The announcement was made amid growing public criticism toward Kakao Mobility’s monopolistic practices in the taxi-hailing business and over stock manipulation allegations involving its parent firm, Kakao Corp., and its executives.

Kakao Mobility is a subsidiary of Kakao, the operator of South Korea’s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk.

Last month, the Financial Supervisory Service referred Kakao’s founder, Kim Beom-su, and CEO Hong Eun-taek to the prosecution over allegations of manipulating the stock prices of K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment Co. in a bidding war in February against Hybe, the parent company of K-pop superband BTS’ management agency BigHit.

An image of a taxi contracted with Kakao Mobility Corp. (Yonhap)
An image of a taxi contracted with Kakao Mobility Corp. (Yonhap)