Thursday, July 10, 2008

Korean Communications Companies Going Global

An interesting article in the Korea Times recently pointed out that, for Korean mobile operators, the future challenge may lie in going global. The article notes that "In Korea, over 90% of the population now have mobile phones, and worldwide, the demand for mobiles grows not by the year, but by the day. For most mobile providers, it is sink or swim time, as successful mobile operators from other countries are now getting involved in overseas mergers and buyouts, or launching their own services abroad." With the local Korean market for mobile communication services being saturated, it would stand to reason that companies seeking continued growth will have to achieve it through either (1) introducing more advanced, value added services or (2) expanding internationally. While the Korea Times article focuses on mobile operators, the question can be applied to communications businesses more generally. When this is done, it becomes apparent that such companies as Naver, Daum or Empas may find it very difficult to expand internationally because their services have been designed for and within a Korean-language media context. The question of "going global" also needs to be applied to such companies as OhMyNews, which began as a Korean-language effort at "citizen's journalism" and now has an English edition.

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