Monday, June 17, 2013

The issue of Naver's market dominance in Korea

Earlier this Spring, the local press reported that Naver would be one of the companies targeted by the Park Geun-hye government in its campaign for "economic democratization."  Today the Joongang Daily carried another lengthy article dealing with Naver's dominance in the search market, both for desktop PCs and mobile devices.  (click on the accompanying graphic to see a full-size version)  The article quotes representatives of several small start-up companies and basically argues that Naver is stifling economic creativity.
I think it is clear that a large majority of Koreans presently prefer Naver's Korean language services.  Like Americans and people in most other countries of the world who use Google, the Korean public also prefers to find information quickly and efficiently, which contributes to their use of a single source, Naver, and its market dominance.
What I think is missing from the Joongang Daily analysis is the global context.   Naver, for all its strengths in serving the Korean-language public here on the peninsula and around the globe, is a "walled garden" that effectively ignores the majority of internet content which appears in English and other languages (on this topic see my earlier posts). (or here, or use the search box in the right hand column and search for "Naver")

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