South Korea's Daum Kakao launches Uber competitor

Daum Kakao is launching a car service app with a difference: Only drivers with taxi licences need apply.

South Korean IT service giant Daum Kakao has launched its own version of a chauffeur car service app that is to compete directly with Uber.

(Image: Kakao Taxi)

The company launched the Kakao Taxi app for cab drivers ahead of the version for passengers to lure taxi subscribers to the service. The app is available anywhere in the country from Google Play, with all drivers required to have a taxi licence.

Daum Kakao stressed that subscription information will be reviewed for reliability and accuracy before giving the OK to the drivers.

Checking up on taxi drivers' reliability has become a hot button issue recently, with two drivers using Uber in India and Australia having allegedly sexually assaulted their passengers.

Daum Kakao plans to launch the app for passengers within the first quarter of the year to kick off the service.

Uber, launched earlier, has faced a barrage of pressure from the government that said its service is illegal under the country's transportation law, while local taxi groups have criticised it for keeping them out of the loop.

Daum Kakao, in a move that likely reflected the anxieties of traditional cab drivers, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Seoul's taxi union to thwart possible opposition.

Recently, China restricted the use of Uber to drivers with a taxi licence, saying the action will protect users.