Survey results: Learn which Korean free text, chat and call app is the most popular

Before I got an Android device and Kimchi Man helped me install my very first Korean app, I was stuck with texting him in a very annoying way. You see, for some reason SMSing from Europe to Korea doesn’t work. I had contacted all the service providers, and they assured me they have contracts with Korean companies and that it should work.

Should, but doesn’t. It probably has something to do with character encoding, our SMS is optimized for Latin alphabet, Korean for Hangul. But then again Kimchi Man can send SMS to me just fine.

Anyway, Kimchi Man found a way around this, he let me log in to his father’s mobile carrier’s service of sending SMS for free inside Korea. So I would log in with my phone that could barely render webpages and it would take me around 10 – 15 minutes to type and send the text. I know it’s crazy when I think this didn’t stop me from texting him dozens of messages a day, but in my defense – I was in love!

My love for him hasn’t changed, but what has changed is that I got a new phone and could finally use texting and calling apps. Instead of 10 minutes, it takes 10 seconds. And these apps are really cute too.

The app we use is called MyPeople, but since we started this blog I had the impression that everyone else uses KakaoTalk – we got quite a few questions that start with “I talk to this Korean guy in KakaoTalk and…” and I even got private messages asking if I would share my KakaoTalk ID (I would, but I don’t have one). So I decided to write a post reviewing and comparing four most popular Korean apps. But before I did that, I set up a survey because I wanted to check if KakaoTalk really was so much dominant. Let’s find out.

89 people took the survey and we are really grateful to all of them. 26% of participants were from the United States, 11% from South Korea, 6% Singapore, and 4% from United Kingdom, Philippines, Germany, Australia, and Malaysia each, with 34 countries in total.

Survey participants by country free instant messaging apps Korean

Here are their answers.

Do you have Korean boyfriend or girlfriend

Do you have Korean friends

It is interesting that 12% neither have a Korean friend nor are in relationship with a Korean person, and yet still some of them used Koreans apps to text. It would be interesting to learn how they got to use a Korean app. Also, 25% have both Korean friend and are in relationship with a Korean and don’t use any of these apps.

And now, the big question, which instant messaging application do the participants use.

Which instant application do you use Korean

So, my impression was correct, KakaoTalk is indeed dominant. Among those that selected the option “Other” non-Korean apps Viber and WhatsApp were the most common. Also, some people put in Facebook, e-mail, mobile phone, etc. as their answer, but as none of those is really an instant messaging app we counted their answers as “None”.

Next, we were wondering which feature is the most important to people. We wanted to take this into account when reviewing the apps later.

Which feature is the most important to you in Korean instant messaging applications

Which non essential feature is the most important to you in Korean instant messaging applications

And lastly, which devices and operating systems are those apps mostly used on?

On which platform do you use the instant messaging app?

Those were all the questions asked in the survey. Some answers were expected – KakaoTalk took the app crown, but I was surprised about the last one – I really expected most people would be using iPhone. What was your impression? Did you expect KakaoTalk and Android to win?

Find out more:

Free text and call Korean apps: KakaoTalk, Naver Line, MyPeople, ChatON Korean emoticons Long distance relationship advice
Free text and call Korean apps Korean emoticons Long distance relationship advice

7 thoughts on “Survey results: Learn which Korean free text, chat and call app is the most popular

  1. Aha! A year ago, I would have been in the “with Korean boyfriend” haha. Because of you, I joined My People. I hope to see you there. Will explore more and check if it is indeed better than Kakao.

      • Im using MyPeople now and it is okay. I love the stickers! However, both the voice and video calls are terrible.

          • I experienced the same thing. When I used My People two days ago, my downloaded stickers disappeared and I couldn’t find them in the sticker store. Perhaps it has something to do with the update.

            Oh. Internet connection in my country sucks so that’s why the voice and video quality is low.

  2. I use kakaotalk with my online korean boyfriend (we will meet in person next month), we both live in US but it seems that’s the text message app most koreans use.

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