31 Articles for 'Korea'

  1. 2008/04/16 So Google China hopes to become #1 within 5 years - where will that leave Google Korea?
  2. 2008/04/15 Myspace launches in Korea officially
  3. 2008/04/07 Cyworld to launch a blog service
  4. 2008/03/28 Lunch 2.0 at Microsoft Korea (3)
  5. 2008/03/26 Koreans aged 19-24 have 78 Cyworld friends on average (3)
  6. 2008/03/12 Four out of Ten Koreans turn to the web when they study (1)
  7. 2008/03/11 Myspace Korea launched (5)
  8. 2008/01/25 Youtube Opens Korean Service - But Will It Succeed? (7)
  9. 2007/12/06 A Japan-based CEO says Japan's web and mobile industry looks ready to bloom
  10. 2007/12/03 Did you know this blog?

So Google China hopes to become #1 within 5 years - where will that leave Google Korea?

Web 2.0 | 2008/04/16 00:04 | Web 2.0 Asia
reports that Kai-Fu Lee, Google China's president, said Google aspires to become China's search market leader within five years. Lee's comments back up Eric Schmidt's audacious statement.
"Certainly, we would like to aspire to be a market leader in five years," Mr. Lee said Monday on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia.

Google accounted for 26% of China's Internet-search revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 17% a year earlier, according to Beijing research firm Analysys International. Market leader Baidu.com's share of the market rose to 60% from 58%.

Many Internet users in China are more familiar with Baidu, which started earlier in the country and which attracts users in significant part by facilitating easy access to free music.

If Google China does succeed in becoming the top dog in China, it will certainly be a sweet revenge against Baidu, which practically mocked Google with its infamous "I know you don't know" commercial (ironical this is hosted on Google's own Youtube):

Going back to the quote again, Google China's market share jumped from 17% to 26% in over a year. That's pretty remarkable growth, isn't it? Especially so, contrasting those figures against Google Korea's current market share, which is 2.16% as of March 2008 (according to Korean Click, a Korean web analytics company.)

Why is Google struggling to break into the Korean market? It might be because Korea is a unique market where "monoculture" dominates, or it might be because Korean local incumbents, most notably Naver, are so good. Or it might be the combination of both.
TAG China, , Korea

Myspace launches in Korea officially

Web 2.0 | 2008/04/15 23:55 | Web 2.0 Asia
launched officially today. Chris DeWolfe, Myspace CEO who is visiting Korea, delivered a keynote at Yonsei University today. Myspace is also throwing a chic, "clubby" launching party tonight in Seoul too.

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Their Korea strategy? The same strategy that they used in the US when they started out, namely to focus initially on Indie bands and musicians and build self-service content outlets for them. Myspace will also try to work with local web companies to develop Myspace apps tailored for Korean market. Chris DeWolf said Myspace is fully aware that each local market has different usage pattern and taste, especially when it comes to web services, and therefore Myspace Korea will be "quite differentiated" from Myspace US. For example, as I had introduced in earlier post, Myspace Korea offers some Korea-only features such as "Minilog", a Twitter-like mini blog. The UI is also much tailored for Korean users' tastes, says Myspace.

As a side note, I was supposed to do a one-on-one interview with Chris DeWolve at tomorrow's  Myspace Developer Conference Seoul (think Guy Kawasaki-Steve Ballmer talk), but Chris had a last minute schedule change and I'll be talking to Travis Katz and Sung Lee, both Myspace VPs. It would have been very cool if I could interview Myspace CEO for an hour, but still I'm sure Sung and Travis are terrific people and I'll have a heck of time talking with them. If video becomes available, I'll post the interview video on this blog later on.
TAG Korea,

Cyworld to launch a blog service

Web 2.0 | 2008/04/07 20:45 | Web 2.0 Asia
Cyworld is launching a blog service (link in Korean) - well, technically, they're not launching a new service, but changing the name of their existing Home2 service. With their "Cyworld Blog" initiative, Cyworld might add more features down the road, but at least for the time being, the change seems pretty cosmetic.

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What is Home 2? As the suffix "2" tells, Cyworld has made a longtime effort to bring forth an upgraded version of their popular yet aging (i.e. slow growth) minihompy service. As popular as minihompy service was, Cyworld knew that nothing can be popular forever and they had to come up with the new engine of growth.

So they put together a team of brilliant strategists (including Marc Canter of the US, it's widely known) and spent numerous hours on brainstorming sessions. The service that came out of that effort was Cyworld Home 2 (out in spring 2007) - which was essentially a blog service with some robust frontpage editing features (widgets, page addition, etc) and 1-chon (Cyworld's friend system).

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However, Home 2 service never really clicked with the Cyworld minihompy users. Minihompy users didn't perceive the more blog-like Home 2 service as the natural next step to their minihompies and therefore didn't rush to Home 2. The fact that Home 2 was packed with all the bells and whistles also meant the service didn't have a very clear focus. When introduced to Home 2, minihompy users were like, "ok, so why am I supposed to use this?"

So Home 2 was by and large a flop, but to make matters worse, the situation isn't all that rosy for the minihompy service either - it's under a double threat of a) decreasing traffic in its domestic Korean market and b) struggle in virtually all foreign markets it entered into.

Which is why the re-naming of Home 2 to Cyworld Blog seems to have come from desperation rather than from a well-devised strategy.

Cyworld is perhaps undergoing a textbook case of innovator's dilemma: Once great, now slowly aging. Massive self-reinvention effort in the name of Home 2 didn't exactly succeed. Again, if you were Cyworld CEO, what would you do? Certainly a nice brain-teaser.

Lunch 2.0 at Microsoft Korea

Web 2.0 | 2008/03/28 12:59 | Web 2.0 Asia
Yesterday, we had the fourth Lunch 2.0 at Microsoft Korea. Korea's "Web 2.0 gangs" were all gathered together. Lunch was great - Nice big fat burger and beef enchilada. Here are Flickr photos, courtesy of Suman Park of Me2day.

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It deceptively looks as though I'm trying to hit on a girl, which I'm not

Guess which company was appointed to host the next Lunch 2.0... It's ours! We should find a good venue, as our office is *just* a little bit smaller than NHN's. Thanks Microsoft Korea for hosting the event.
TAG Korea, Lunch 2.0

Koreans aged 19-24 have 78 Cyworld friends on average

Other | 2008/03/26 17:20 | Web 2.0 Asia
Korea Economy Newspaper (link in Korean) reports that, according to a newest research, Koreans aged from 19 to 24 are, on average, found to:
  • Have 78 Cyworld buddies ("Il-chon")
  • Have added 23 new Cyworld buddies over the last year
  • Have 79 instant messenger buddies
  • Be a member of 5 online clubs
How can you possibly manage the communication with 78 Cyworld buddies and 79 instant messenger buddies? Add to this 100+ phonebook entries and pouring amount of emails, and boy, is it hard to simply "keep in touch".

It's funny people work so hard, often checking emails at 2AM, to achieve their biggest dream: To become able to throw away their blackberries and get free from emails.
TAG cyworld, Korea

Four out of Ten Koreans turn to the web when they study

Web 2.0 | 2008/03/12 17:05 | Web 2.0 Asia
Call Korea "e-learning paradise" - According to Naver News, on a recent survey, 39.1% of Koreans were found to turn to the internet (e-learning) when they study. The percentage of people who study on the web has been on a sharp increase - It was 13.6% in 2005 and 27.8% in 2006. The figures for people from 6 to 19 years old were a whopping 67.0%.

I don't know if Koreans are the hardest-studying people in the world (well, Korean students certainly are - though they still mostly cram stuff in their heads for their college entrance exam rather than developing creativity). But it's certain that when they do study, Koreans are much more likely to use the web as the medium than the rest of the world. Which translates into some tough competition for Korean e-learning service providers: There are 756 e-learning service providers, an increase of 21.7% over the last year, the survey also found.

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Picture from korea.net

TAG e-learning, Korea

Myspace Korea launched

Web 2.0 | 2008/03/11 17:02 | Web 2.0 Asia
is up now, and the first thing I notice is that it's not just a simple word-by-word translation of the original Myspace service. The Korean version has its own site menus that include "Minilog", something that's not found in the US version. Minilog is apparently the aggregation of snippets of messages composed by Myspacers. Overall, the site is quite well localized - but it remains to be seen if the service will become the "post-Cyworld" in Korea.

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TAG Korea,

Youtube Opens Korean Service - But Will It Succeed?

Web 2.0 | 2008/01/25 01:14 | Web 2.0 Asia
launched a few days ago. Although some "in the know" Koreans have been using Youtube, it's the first time Youtube is offered as a fully localized service in Korea.

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But it's not very clear to me what winning strategies Youtube has for the Korean market. Unlike in Japan, where there haven't been many local incumbents providing online video service, Korea has some pretty strong local players in the sector. (Update: This part was a bit misleading and see my comment below for further clarification). One of the hottest buzzwords among the Korean web industry over the past couple of years has been "UCC", a term Koreans like to use for user-created online videos. With the UCC phenom sweeping the country, Korea has no shortage of capable online video service providers.

As such, Youtube will face some tough competition in Korea, against the likes of Daum TV Pot and Pandora TV. Google Korea says Youtube Korea has partnered with top-tier content partners in Korea and so its forte lies in the content. But then, which online video company doesn't say so?

So here's the brain teaser for you: If you were the person in charge of launching Youtube in Korean market (or you can also put your own country in there), what would you do?
TAG Daum, Korea, Pandora,
This morning I met with CEO Park of Japan's Ascent Networks, who is based in Tokyo but visited Seoul temporarily.

Ascent Networks has bunch of high-calibre people and runs several neat Web 2.0 services in Japan. Mr Park has been in Japan for quite a while and understands Japanese web industry thoroughly.

Park said that Japan's startup actions currently look very active, with many software engineers starting up venture companies and also quite a few VCs knocking on doors of those startups.

Park expects that the year 2008 will see lots of interesting mobile applications to come out of Japan, for which the two biggest drivers will be a) further penetration of fixed data plans and b) increased number of (already many) "non-official" mobile sites.

Of particular note is the mobile ads market - Park said Japanese advertisers are starting to discover the relevancy of mobile ads, and are poised to spend more budget on mobile ads. According to Park, "Mobile ads are especially relevant, because people are likely to search something on mobile when they are about to do something in five minutes, not five days or five months."

So I guess what Park says is, if I'm walking on streets and suddenly fall in the mood for Mexican food (don't you sometimes?), I might flip open my phone and look for nearby Mexican place, rather than going back to the office and Google "Nearby mexican restaurant". Therefore search results on mobile might be more aligned with the current/immediate intention of the user - that's my understanding of what Park says.

In any case, I think it's quite likely that some interesting new ventures, especially in the arena of mobile internet, might come from Japan next year. Japan might even lead the global innovation in the mobile web service industry, especially with their lead in the "transition from PC to mobile device."

Which brings my attention back to Korea and its wireless carriers, who are still largely trying to control the mobile value added services (VAS) value chain within their walled gardens. I wouldn't have to bother quoting many people to remind that, in this era of "2.0", innovations don't so much come from the center as from the edge. If Korea also wants to see mobile web service innovations, all "walls" will have to be lifted so that the "edgelings" can build interesting things in sandbox.
TAG Ascent, Korea, Mobile, Mobile ads

Did you know this blog?

Other | 2007/12/03 17:01 | Web 2.0 Asia
I thought this blog had some blog juice - until I stumbled upon this blog called Popseoul.
The Popseoul blog is, to quote their About page, "the brainchild of 2 friends with a passion for Korean entertainment and style."

The Popseoul blog has tons of up-to-date content about Korean entertainment. For those who follow entertainment - I'm not included in the group, by the way - this blog can be seriously fun. Well, with pictures of Kim Tae-hee like this one, it can be fun to us the techies too.

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TAG Kim Tae-hee, Korea, Popseoul
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