Internet Korea

South Korea is stuck with Internet Explorer in 2013

The Washington Post covers the defacto monopoly of Windows in South Korea recently with Chico Harlan’s article: South Korea is stuck with Internet Explorer for online shopping because of security law.

I covered this in 2007 with my piece the cost of monoculture, which is basically still accurate as of late 2013.

I’m a little surprised that Harlan did not link to my piece as it is the first and most widely-circulated English-language piece on this topic. I’m also a bit surprised that Harlan did not interview Dr. Keechang Kim of Korea University who has been the most vocal voice in Korea against this defacto monopoly.

Korea News

An Interview with John Cho

APA Magazine has a great in-depth, two-part interview with John Cho who is one of the only high-profile Asian-American actors working in the industry today. I hope Cho has a long and exciting career ahead of him as it is great to see an actor like him on the stage of today.
The Game-Changer: An Interview with John Cho
The Game-Changer: An Interview with John Cho (part 2)
via Angry Asian Man

China Internet Korea News

Nothing But Net

This is a few months late but JP Morgan’s Imran Khan has a lengthy 2009 Internet Investment Guide (or here) out that is worth reading for it’s coverage of China, Korea and Russia.

China Internet Japan Korea mobile video

Benjamin Joffe – Asia’s Best of Breed

I really enjoyed Benjamin’s newest presentation on Asian Internet businesses in comparison to Western ones.

Presentation at eComm in San Francisco in March 2009 about Asian mobile ecosystem, especially Japan, and comparisons with Apple’s iPhone and Facebook. Some extra like mobile SNS, mobile novels and various other considerations of interest.

Blogs China Ecommerce Internet Japan Korea News

the consumer web services challenge of East Asia

Changwon Kim has news on his blog that Cyworld is quitting the US market: Cyworld pulling plugs from US.

Cause of failure? Well, for starters (the obvious ones): Cyworld didn’t seem to have sharp strategies as to how to position their service (Was it Myspace or Habbo hotel?); They didn’t localize the service very well; SK Telecom, the parent company, didn’t “get it” yet still tried to put a grip on the business.

Chang suggests that this recession is a good time for Korean entrepreneurs to build the post-Cyworld service that would ideally be more popular outside of Korea. I’d be happy for this to happen, but that barrier to success is quite high.


It’s clear from the existing marketplace that Asia is qualitatively different for consumer web services. I’ve been blogging about this for years and the best example comes from a post by Mitani-san at Asiajin quoting George Godula of Web2Asia; In fact, I’ll use the subtitle instead of the title as the subtitle is more relevant: Why it is difficult for European and U.S. companies to advance into Asia.

Godula’s presentation at Open Web Asia looked at China, Japan and Korea and compared the leading ecommerce, video hosting, sns, bbs and blog service vs. what is popular outside of Asia. It’s a crystal clear chart that shows that sites and services that are popular in North/South America or Europe are just nowhere to be found in Asia. Godula has a good list (be sure to click over to see it) of why companies are unsuccessful in Asia:

1. No formal internationalization/Asia entry strategy
2. Entered Asia too late/ too slow
3. Local HQ has no full decision power
4. Incomplete localization´╝łTranslation, Content, Pricing, Branding(name, colours, etc.), Features, Business model)
5. No Local technical development team (Slower time to market, More expensive)
6. Domestic players sometimes simply have the superior technology/business model
7. Global corporate guidelines
8. Local legislation

This is tough stuff. And as I commented on Chang’s blog, I’m not sure there are good examples of Asian-founded successful consumer web services that have been successful outside of their home areas. One might say Naver is doing ok in Japan with their web-based games but to me Flash-games are not consumer web services.

That Friendster’s success in SE Asia (specifically the Philippines) was largely accidental is telling. They’ve been smart to focus on their successful markets but being successful in markets by accident is a scary way to grow a business.

Tonight Jason Calcanis joins Tokyo 2.0.  I won’t be able to make it as I have a previous committment but if you go, ask Jason what he thinks it takes for a non-Asian consumer web service to be succesful in Asia.  Outside of core search (which is a consumer service but one that requires the deepest of pockets) it’s instructive to consider how little Asia has in common with N. America or the EU in this segment.

Jason Calcanis at Web 2.0