Smartphones are an integral part of the life of most South Koreans. A survey conducted in 2018 found that almost 22 percent of South Koreans aged between 20 and 29 years old spent more than four hours on their smartphones. Another survey found that around 19.1 percent of overall South Koreans were found to be overdependent on their smartphones, including around 21.5 percent of children aged between six and nine years old.
Due to the high usage of smartphones, the country is quick to adapt to new technologies, for example 5G. In August 2019, four months after its launch, it was reported that there were already two million 5G subscribers in South Korea, exceeding the expectations of analysts and industry officials.
One of the most used apps on smartphones is KakaoTalk, an instant messenger developed in South Korea. Customers can use the app for free, but stickers for chatrooms, called emoticon, are being sold via their store. KakaoTalk’s characters are not only sold digitally: Due to their popularity, the company started opening shops and cafes to sell merchandise. The company did not only develop the most frequently used instant messenger service of the country, but also increased their reach by developing company profiles, games, an online bank, and more, making it one of the most important companies in the industry.