Daangn Sees the Future in Neighborhood Business

  • By Lim Kyeong-eop

    August 29, 2023 13:56

    Popular app Daangn Market has removed the "Market" part from its name to expand its services from a second-hand marketplace to catering to local and neighborhood businesses. It now offers a range of features such as advertising for local small businesses, part-time job ads and advertising of local events and lectures.
    Founded in 2015, it rapidly grew as a second-hand trading app and is recognized as a domestic "unicorn" with a corporate value of over W3 trillion (US$1=W1,323). "The app has amassed 35 million members and 18 million monthly users, making it one of the most popular apps," CEO Hwang Do-yeon said. "We plan to introduce various neighborhood-based services beyond secondhand transactions."
    The launch of advertising for local businesses in 2021 marked the first step in this direction. "While there are several portals and platforms to promote famous restaurants or franchises, the only way to advertise neighborhood eateries, beauty salons and gyms has been through flyers."
    The app's advertising feature is unique in its ability to target local regular customers in the neighborhood. It also has features for small businesses to communicate with customers and to enable bookings for businesses like beauty and nail salons.
    The advertising target can be precisely set for users within a radius of 300 m to 1.5 km. "The number of stores using the app for posting ads has exceeded 800,000 through word of mouth. Advertising revenue grew twice compared to 2021, and it is expected to grow by more than two times this year."
    Customers also use the app for local community gatherings, evening classes, expert recommendations, and part-time job offers. "Nowadays, it's so popular that local people immediately post on the app when they lose their pets."
    The "find a part-time job within 700 m" feature has become a job-seeking platform for local stores, thanks to shop owners urgently hiring staff for hall service or cleaning. The number of gyms, taekwondo and Pilates studios on the app increased by about 90 percent.
    Daangn CEO Hwang Do-yeon poses with the company's logo in Seoul on Aug. 23.
    Daangn allows users to engage in second-hand transactions and services only in two neighborhoods: where they live or where they work. Despite many other second-hand trading sites since the mid-2000s, it succeeded because the app "was built on trust and confidence in our neighborhood and nearby people."
    "Even in an era where everything is online, the trust, reliability and expectations for my neighbors remain unchanged," Hwang said. "Strengthening the review and evaluation feature and encouraging local face-to-face transactions significantly reduced fraud and contributed to the app's success."
    Now Daangn is also exploring international expansion, including in North America and Japan. It already operates in major cities such as Tokyo's shopping district of Shinjuku and New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. "Even though the distance between neighbors is much greater in North America, trust and kindness towards neighbors exist there just like in Korea. If we provide services that suit the characteristics of overseas cultures, there is a good chance of success."
    Hwang graduated from Seoul National University in computer science and joined as an early member of Kakao in 2011 after working in the consulting industry. At Kakao, he was responsible for planning and developing associated services like Kakao Pay.
    He joined Daangn in 2021 and took on the role of CEO last year. "As IT platforms grow larger, small neighborhood stores can become marginalized, and connections between neighbors can weaken," he said. "Daangn will become a platform that connects store to store and neighbor to neighbor, allowing you to rediscover your neighborhood."
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