LINE & KAKAO - What are the differences?
Jul 2021

“Line friends” and “Kakaotalk” are Asia’s two biggest players in the world of digital entertainment. Ranging from messaging, games, and even banking and transportation, both of these platforms have a huge impact on Asia’s development in the media industry. Although these platforms are similar and impactful in many ways, they are different in their country of origin, marketing strategy, and functionality. 

Background & Origin 

Kakaotalk and Line are platforms that both originate from East Asia. Initially labeled “Daum Kakao”, Kakaotalk was a merger platform with another South Korean digital company, Daum Communications. Daum Kakao was rebranded in 2015 to what we now know as Kakaotalk. Line, on the other hand, was created by a Japanese subsidiary of the Korean company, “Naver”. Although both platforms originated from Korean companies, Line is predominantly used in Japan and other East Asian countries like China, and Kakaotalk is predominantly used in South Korea. 

Marketing Strategy 

Both Kakaotalk and Line focus their marketing strategy on their emoticons. Kakaotalk’s emoticons are called “Kakao Friends”, and Line’s emoticons are called “Line Friends”. These emoticons are featured all throughout Kakaotalk and Line’s platforms. Even outside the digital sphere, Kakao Friends has a collection of children's books to promote their app and services. Similar to Kakao Friends, Line Friends utilizes emoticons to promote their app and services. One successful Line Friends campaign was launching “BT21”, a collection with the global and popular K-Pop band, BTS. 


Kakaotalk and Line platforms both function as communication apps. Although these platforms’ main utility is communication, Kakaotalk provides services like banking and transportation. For example, Kakaotalk has its own bank, “KakaoBank”, which consumers can track and utilize their bank accounts from the Kakaotalk app. Similar to KakaoBank, Kakaotalk has its own taxi service, “KakaoTaxi”. KakaoTaxi functions similarly to Uber and can build credit towards your KakaoBank. Line, on the other hand, focuses primarily on communication services like texting and calling. Additionally, Line is used more globally since Kakaotalk is only available to those who reside in South Korea.