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Asia’s best digital bank 2022: KakaoBank

For a time after its IPO in August, six-year-old branchless KakaoBank was the largest financial institution in South Korea by market capitalization. That didn’t last through the global tech stock collapse – and was always a little absurd – but the $2.2 billion IPO, which is still trading above its issue price, is a reminder of just how far this institution has come.

Pretty much uniquely in the high-promise, low-proof world of Asian digital finance, KakaoBank is profitable, and has been so since 2019, just two years after launch. It turned a W256.9 billion ($205 million) operating profit in 2021, up 110% year on year, having already reached 18 million customers out of a national population of 52 million.

A KakaoBank results statement is unusual because it actually looks like a bank, with quantifiable metrics rather than gaping holes where the profit or return numbers should be.

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