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Naver Subsidiary Gogolook Acquires Hong Kong Startup StudioKUMA

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Gogolook, a subsidiary of Korean Internet giant Naver, announced today that it has acquired Hong Kong startup StudioKUMA. The value of the deal was undisclosed.

Taipei-based Gogolook itself was purchased by Naver, the maker of Line messaging app, in 2013 for about $17.6 million. Its main product is Whoscall, a caller ID app.

Like Whoscall, StudioKUMA is also an app that filters out marketing calls and suspicious numbers. A company representative told TechCrunch that integration with other Naver services (including Line) is a possibility, but in the short-term both will remain standalone products.

Gogolook claims the acquisition of StudioKUMA doubles its daily active users in Hong Kong to 2 million. Whoscall currently has 20 million users around the world and a database of over 700 million telephone numbers. It plans to invest heavily in Hong Kong for R&D as well as product development this year.

The company believes Hong Kong is a potentially lucrative market for call-screening apps because 23 percent of Hong Kong residents surveyed by the Hong Kong University Social Sciences Research Centre said they receive more than six marketing calls a week, even after attempting to unsubscribe from calling lists.

The acquisition is part of Gogolook’s strategy to expand Whoscall’s userbase in East Asia. The company plans to focus on Taiwan, Korea, and Japan this year and will move on Southeast Asia in 2015.

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