Living in Korea can be very difficult, especially for foreigners. There are many things to consider such as culture, customs, weather, shopping, eating, etc. There are crucial must-have Korean apps you will need to download. These are a given, and there is no need to talk about them here. These apps are Kakao Talk, Naver Maps, Seoul Subway, etc. You must have these three on your phone while living in Korea. For this article, we focused on apps that might not be so obvious but could be useful to foreigners living in Korea. Hopefully, some of the Korean apps down the list will be apps you just finding out about now! This article will focus on Korean apps not many people outside of Korea have heard of. However, many apps on this list can be very helpful and have all been started by innovative Korean tech startups.

Here are the Top 10 Korean Apps to Download for 2020

1. Coupang

CoupangCoupang is the Amazon of Korea. Did you know they also had an app? Coupang has been the most successful e-commerce platform in Korea. In 2019, Coupang did close to $15 billion in transactions. It continues to grow at a rate of at least 60% per year. What separates Coupang from many of its competitors is its strong end-to-end fulfillment and logistics infrastructure. In addition, they have a high customer satisfaction rate because of their innovative delivery solutions. Coupang has dawn delivery; with dawn delivery, any orders made before midnight gets to the customer’s door by the next morning. Furthermore, they also have the same service for groceries called Rocket Fresh.

It is estimated that 99.5% of all orders are delivered within 24 hours. Coupang is competing closely against Naver for the top position in the online retail market. We recommend Coupang because it is very friendly for foreigners. In addition, they have offerings of American products like Red Hot Cheetos or Hidden Valley Ranch dressing!!! For these, the wait times will be a lot longer because it will be shipped from the United States.

Once you use Coupang and see how fast the orders arrive at your door, you will never use any other retail delivery service while living in Korea.

2. Zigbang

Korean App ZigbangZigbang is the top real estate app in Korea. Most foreigners living in Korea will not have the deposit necessary to get an apartment. The down payment in Korea is huge, and you would at least need $50,000 for a respectable apartment. This is why most foreigners in Korea go for one-room villas. Therefore finding housing is very important for those looking to live in Seoul. The Zigbang app connects real estate agents and renters in Korea. It is the perfect app for single-household users in their 20s and 30s looking for small-unit rentals. Download the app and write your desired deposit money, monthly rent, and location; Zigbang will do the rest.

If you don’t use Zigbang, you must physically go to a real estate office and speak with an agent. Most will not speak English. They will take you to multiple places. This will pretty much take the whole day. Why spend all this time when you can see what is available through Zigbang?

Zigbang Acquires Three Startups

Zigbang acquired three startups before its expected IPO. The startups include real estate data firm Hogaeng NoNo, shared-housing company Woozoo, and property tech startup SugarHill. Zigbang’s goal will be to increase its combined monthly active users to 12 million by 2022. Before this, Zigbang invested in Cupix, a company that provides state-of-the-art photogrammetry software to create 3D VR content from photos fully automatedly.

“The entire consumer experience of the virtual tour should be on par with potential home buyer’s expectations. Furthermore, the total cost of content creation is also a major factor when it comes to massive-scale deployment,” said Zigbang CEO Seongwoo Ahn.

3.  SNOW

Korean App SnowKorean app SNOW was not started by a Korean startup but rather by NAVER’s subsidiary Camp Mobile. It is the Snapchat of Korea. SNOW is known for its cute localized filters, stickers, AR features, and more. For those that love to take selfies, this app is a must. They also have filters that allow you to bring clean and beautiful pictures. Their makeup feature allows you to add lipstick, eyelashes, eye shadow, and blush to your face.

Furthermore, the user can change their eye, eyebrow, and hair color. This app is very popular with the younger Korean generation and we would recommend you try it out for its cute animations rather than its beauty feature. While the beauty feature is effective, it can look too fake. However, the fun sticker animations are fun to use.

4.  Yogiyo

Korean app YogiyoYogiyo is a Korean food delivery app. It is the Korean arm of Berlin-based Delivery Hero. It is a great app to get Korean food delivered straight to your door. For those looking for foreign food delivery in Seoul, check out our article on Korean food delivery startup Shuttle Delivery. Yogiyo offers a wider Korean food directory filled with pictures and prices. They also offer western foods as well here, but it could be difficult to navigate if you can’t read Korean. Users can also read recommendations and reviews for every restaurant. Again, these reviews are in Korean, so if you can’t read Korean, try Shuttle, another food delivery app tailored for foreigners in Korea.

5.  Buzzvil – Buzzscreen

buzzvil Korean mobile appKorean startup Buzzvil is the first and largest lock screen media platform. Their app BuzzSreen puts advertisements and content on your lock screen on your smartphone. Users get rewarded for having personalized ads on their smartphone lock screen. Users get points that they can exchange into vouchers, gift cards, and even cash. They can also get discounts and deals from advertisers. Those with long commutes to work or school could make some extra money while communicating. This is one of the Korean apps that few know about but is worth checking out.

“Our growth has doubled every year in Korea. Although we are now only in the early stages of signing partnership agreements with foreign companies, I believe that our incredible growth will continue overseas as well,” said CEO of Buzzvil, John Lee.

6.  Miso

Miso is a house cleaning and pet sitting service in Korea. The Miso app allows users to book cleaners in Korea. The cleaners can perform tasks for living rooms, the kitchen, laundry, and more. Users can also rate their cleaners and check out reviews before they book. They also have a pet sitting service for those living in Korea who need pet sitters. Many foreigners in Korea need to leave Korea for vacation, and one of the biggest headaches is looking for someone to watch their pets. Pet hotels are an option, but it is less stressful for pets to stay in their homes. Users can book a pet sitter to feed, clean, and play with their pets through their app. They will give you photo updates through Kakao to let you know how your pet is doing and keep you up to date so you will have peace of mind.

Instead of posting for a pet sitter on foreign Facebook groups in Korea, try Miso. The team behind Miso speaks English, and they have gotten a lot of positive feedback for their service.

“Through our platform, which has a bigger scale compared to the conventional home service provider, we made it possible to provide shorter services by grouping our clients who live next to each other. We hope to provide housekeeping services like hotels,” said CEO of Miso Victor Ching.

7.  Cardoc

Korean Startup CardocCardoc is a car repair comparison app in Korea that is used to get the best estimates and book appointments for oil changes. For those looking to get a car in Seoul, we recommend downloading this app. Automotive repair shops in Korea can be a bit shady. Especially if you are a foreigner, there is a good probability that you could get ripped off. Prices for a simple bumper fix can range from double to triple a competitor’s price. Download the app and just upload a photo of the damage to the car. Then the user will get an instant repair estimate from auto shops in Korea. The best part is that users can also check out reviews from other customers before deciding. Cardoc also offers engine oil changes and premium car wash services.

“A serious problem in the local auto repair market has been distrust between owners and repair shops regarding costs. Looking back on our track record, our biggest selling point, among others, is that we have addressed the distrust,” said CEO of Cardoc, Lee Joon-noh.

8.  Radish

Korean Mobile App RadishKorean startup Radish developed a mobile fiction app that offers users a wide range of stories designed for smartphone readers. Most traveling in Seoul use the subway or bus, and Radish is a great app to keep you entertained throughout your long journey. Users can access over 7,000 stories and even a community chat room. Authors can publish their own stories on the app to build readership and monetize their work. The stories are written and formatted with the smartphone in mind. Radish novels are only around 1,500 words per episode. The novels are either curated or produced by their writers to ensure a high-quality stream of consistent uploads.

“There are things you can only do with text, which is the fastest, leanest way to produce a story. With written narratives, you can feed people content every day, as opposed to videos that involve a lot more,” said CEO of Radish, Lee Seung Yoon.

9.  Send Anywhere

Korean App SendanywhereKorean startup Estmob is the creator of the file-sharing app Send Anywhere. This app allows you to share files of any size with any device or platform. The app is free to use, but you can upgrade to the ad-free Send Anywhere PLUS version, which allows you greater control of when the files are expired and provides you with 1TB of online storage for any file-heavy work. Just download the Send Anywhere app and send your files using a variety of methods on the app. You can also share links where files are uploaded for 48 hours before it goes away. This method works best when sending files to multiple users.

“So far, we have already partnered with Samsung across all of their Multi-Purpose Printers and plan to expand both horizontally and vertically,” said CEO of Send Anywhere, Yoonsik Oh.

10.  Spoon Radio

Korean App Spoon RadioKorean startup Mykoon is the creator of a real-time radio broadcast service called Spoon Radio. Spoon Radio allows users to share stories, ideas, their favorite music, and more on the app. Those that would rather listen rather than read should download this app. Users can listen to personalized content or create their broadcast. Spoon Radio allows people to truly connect and share their thoughts with others on everyday, real-life issues like relationships, money, and work.

Spoon has rapidly grown across Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. Furthermore, their DJs are now becoming audio influencers. Some of the top Spoon DJs make over $100,000 a year. The Spoon app is available in both the iOS and Google Play stores.

“Spoon Radio is continuing its growth by proving its potential as a global audio platform. We will focus on recruiting talent to make a new leap to the global stage,” said CEO of Mykoon Choi Hyuk Jae.



Korean startup Azar

Korean startup Hyperconnect is the creator of the video chatting app Azar. The app has gotten over 350 million downloads to date. There are Korean dating apps you can download, but Azar offers you a chance to meet someone new from people of different cultures worldwide. Users can do live video chats with any Azar user. The best part is that Azar offers translation features. Therefore there is little to no language barrier. This is a great app for meeting new people not only in Korea but around the world.

“We developed Azar because we were the first in the world to develop a WebRTC, a real-time video communication technology that was cutting edge at the time, on a mobile platform, and we wanted to show it off to the global market,” said CEO of Hyperconnect, Ahn Sang-il.