SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) — Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea’s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, said Thursday its first-quarter net profit jumped nearly four times from a year earlier on the back of robust growth of its mobility and fintech businesses amid the pandemic.

Net profit reached 239.9 billion won (US$213.7 million) in the January-March period on a consolidated basis, compared with a profit of 79.9 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The operating income for the cited period rose 78.6 percent on-year to a record high of 158 billion won, Kakao said.

Sales also jumped by 44.9 percent on-year to reach a record high of 1.25 trillion won during the cited period.

The company attributed the stellar performance to the robust growth of new services, such as fintech and mobility, linked to its mobile messenger KakaoTalk.

Kakao said messaging through KakaoTalk surged following the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people stayed at home and avoided face-to-face contact, leading to increased usage.

Revenue from its new business sector, which includes Kakao Mobility and Kakao Pay, skyrocketed by 89 percent on-year to 189.8 billion won.

Kakao said the revenue from its platform business surged by 51 percent on-year to 668.8 billion won over the cited period thanks to the steady growth of Biz Message and Talk Biz.

Revenue from the content business also expanded by 38 percent on-year to 589.2 billion won.

Noticeably, revenue from paid content, such as webtoons, skyrocketed 80 percent on-year to 174.7 billion won during the quarter on the back of global popularity.

Sales of game content also increased 35 percent on-year to 130.3 billion won due to the popularity of its new titles, it said.