SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean internet companies Naver and Kakao are planning to release English versions of their map apps in anticipation of the increased influx of foreign tourists for the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
According to market analysis by media company Wiseapp, Naver Map leads the field with 8.08 million monthly active users, followed by Google Maps (7.66 million) and Kakao Map (3.09 million).
‘Monthly active users’ refers to the aggregate of all users who have used the service at least once during a one-month period.
Despite Google Maps’ strong presence locally, it faces limitations its South Korean competitors do not. For example, it does not offer navigation and walking direction services.
Google’s inability to offer such services is due to the fact that the South Korean government has barred the storage of topographical data on foreign-based servers. The American internet search giant appealed to the government twice, once in 2010 and once last year, to remove the restrictions but was unsuccessful.
Google’s loss will be Naver and Kakao’s gain. Naver intends to release an English version of its map app at an unspecified date, and will build on user feedback to also release a Chinese version. Kakao will likely release an English version in December, and will also upgrade its Kakao Navi to provide voice navigation in English.