Skift Take

Yanolja has ambitious plans to be everything to everyone — will that work for the superapp?

Jongyoon Kim, the CEO of South Korea-based superapp Yanolja, sees Tesla as the metaphor for its company highlighting how the electronic vehicle company has been rethinking the entire value chain.

While Yanolja may not be in a hurry to go public directly, Kim talked about how Yanolja has not yet used the investment from Vision Fund. However, he did say that they would like to be a global company and partner with global companies.

Speaking on Wednesday about the motivation to change Yanolja from just selling travel to becoming a superapp, Kim pointed that of 10 billion travelers, there are only one billion online travelers.

“We need a new business model to increase online penetration from 10 percent to 30 percent in the next five years to enjoy a bigger market share that’s why we introduced a new business model,” said Kim in a conversation with Sean O’Neill, Skift’s senior hospitality editor, at the inaugural edition of Skift Global Forum East in Dubai.

Kim has already increased the market share of online travelers in South Korea and plans to replicate this for the rest of the world.

While explaining Yanolja’s superapp move, Kim also spoke about how they have been trying to change the definition of travel from once a quarter to everyday.

“To realize our vision we tried to diversify the categories and extend those from flight and accommodation to everything related to travel, including food and beverage, exhibition, entertainment like musicals as well as transportation.”

Yanolja also has exclusive rights to sell Korean pop band BTS and Blackpink’s concert tickets on mobile in South Korea.

“More than one-third of the Korean population are using our superapp service, as a result the expansion in category has been very successful to expand the customer pool,” he said.

Talking about how big the superapp model can go worldwide, Kim highlighted that the superapp model is not just about catering to consumers.

To expand into the other category, companies need to provide benefit for their merchants that’s why Kim said they are building a cloud-based software business.

“Why would K-pop stars want to sell tickets through us? Because we provide stable online service and provide the best on site operational system,” he said.

Travel is the best industry to make data transformation compared to e-commerce and automotive, opined Kim.

Speaking on sustainability, Kim explained how Yanolja is trying to reduce waste using digital technology.


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Tags: asia monthly, korea, sgfe2022, Skift Global Forum East, skift live, softbank, superapps, tesla, yanolja

Photo credit: Yanolja CEO Jongyoon Kim at the Skift Global forum East in Dubai. Skift

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