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Kakao services nearly in full swing after fire

10:19 October 18, 2022

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp. said Tuesday that most of its services are in almost full operation, after being disrupted due to a fire, with some mail services remaining partially down.

Services of Kakao affiliated units, including KakaoBank Corp., Kakao Map, Kakao T, Kakao Navi, Kakao Page, Kakao Webtoon, Melon and Kakao Games, had been fully normalized around Tuesday morning, according to the company.

KakaoTalk, the most popular mobile messenger in the country of 51 million people, with 43 million monthly active users, is operating normally, but some of its services for backups and shopping are still unavailable.

The company said the recovery process for its internet portal Daum is still underway.

"Functions of Kakao Mail were fully restored as of 9 a.m. and we're now working to repair the mailing service on Daum," a Kakao official said.

This undated file photo shows an office building of Kakao Corp. in Pangyo, just south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Nearly all online services provided by Kakao, ranging from online messenger KakaoTalk to banking service Kakao Bank and traffic app Kakao T, suffered a massive malfunction from Saturday afternoon due to a fire at SK C&C located in Pangyo, just south of Seoul.

SK C&C houses the data centers for Kakao and Naver Corp., South Korea's two major tech giants.

The fire was extinguished some eight hours later, but an immediate power shutdown at the data center caused a server outage in Kakao's services.

Police said the fire started on a battery stored on the third basement of the building on Saturday but the exact reason for the incident is still being investigated.

Meanwhile, groups of users of KakaoTalk and other related services are set to take legal action against the tech giant seeking damages.

As of Tuesday, five online communities seeking a damage suit against Kakao on the local internet portal Naver have opened up.

Shin Jae-yeon, a lawyer from a local law firm LKB & Partners, who opened one of the online communities, said Kakao is fully responsible for the situation as it should have prepared for such a disaster, no matter the cause of the fire.

He said most of KakaoTalk services are free of charge, but that does not mean Kakao is exempted from liability for damages.

Kakao said it has formed a task force to map out compensation plans and will open a channel next week to receive reports of damages.

"We deeply apologize for the inconvenience that the accident has caused. We are doing our best to normalize our services," Kakao's co-CEO Hong Eun-taek said earlier this week. "We will come up with strict measures to prevent a recurrence of such disaster and compensation plans for victims."



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