Co-CEO of South Korean chat app Kakao steps down after widespread outage

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SEOUL: Kakao Corp co-CEO Namkoong Whon has stepped down, the company announced Wednesday, after an outage shut down South Korea’s largest mobile chat app and other services, triggering a widespread backlash from authorities and the public.

The resignation, effective Wednesday, leaves co-CEO Hong Euntaek as sole CEO.

The company has apologized for the outage that began on Saturday due to a fire at a data center operated by SK C&C near Seoul.

Most of its systems were restored on Wednesday, but various functions remain fragile and disruptions to a wide range of services, from payments to taxis and restaurant reservations, have raised questions about public trust in the app.

KakaoTalk, launched in 2010, has more than 47 million active accounts in South Korea, making it one of the most ubiquitous apps in the country of 51.6 million people.

Hong, who is also leading the company’s response to the outage, said Kakao would look into why work to restore service was slow, prepare compensation for users and businesses affected by the service disruptions, and build its own centers. of data.

“We will build our own infrastructure, including data centers, to ensure that our services are not affected by similar incidents in the future,” Kakao said in a statement.

The company plans to invest 460 billion won ($325 million) to start operating its own data center from next year, and another will be completed the following year, he said.

More than 500 small businesses have complained about lost sales due to the Kakao outage, lobby group Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise said.

(1 USD = 1,415.6400 won)

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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