S. Korea's 'Anipang' obsession goes overseas

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South Korea's most popular smartphone messaging application Kakao Talk said Tuesday it was launching three of its wildly successful mobile games on the global market.

Kakao Talk, launched in March 2010, boasts around 36 million domestic users -- some 70 percent of the population -- with another 30 million overseas.

The games to be marketed outside the country include "Anipang", which has become an obsession in South Korea since its launch in July.

Anipang has been downloaded 20 million times and is played at least once a day by an estimated 10 million people.

The game involves a screen of 49 cartoon animals, in a seven-by-seven matrix, with points scored by lining up three identical animals in a row.

It lasts one minute and the final score is transmitted to everyone on the user's Kakao contact list.

It earns revenue from in-game add-ons.

"We tried Anipang first in Korea and got a great response, which led us to think there's great potential in introducing it overseas," Kakao CEO Lee Jae-Beom told reporters.

The popularity of Anipang has refuelled concerns about gaming addiction in South Korea. Government figures estimate that around two million people are addicted to Internet gaming.

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