Top Korean Web 2.0 Apps

first_imgNext in my series on international web apps is Korea. I have Chang W. Kim, who runs ablog called Web 2.0 Asia, to thank for providingme with all the info. Korea is in many ways ahead of the curve in terms of the Internet. It has the highesthousehold penetration of broadband internet in the world and some highly innovative Webapplications (e.g. the social network Cyworld).Bigcos and SearchChang says that in Korea a lot of web 2.0 initiatives are done by Internet bigcos – Naver, Daum, Nate.com (operated by SK Communications, which also ownsCyworld), Yahoo Korea, etc. However he says GoogleKorea isn’t such a big threat in this market and it is outperformed by local searchcompany Naver.  Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting In a post on his blog, Change described thereasons why:“I think the success of Naver search has been largely helped by the fact that Korea isa very homogeneous society where people often have very common and shared interests. Imean, every society has its memes and zeitgeist, but I think Korea is a little morespecial. 48+ million people packed in a small country that’s equipped with dead efficientbroadband and mobile networks. That’s an interesting (and even a bit dangerous)combination.”Chang said that the Korean bigcos all seem to be providing generic Web/media 2.0service offerings – blogs, photo management tools, online video sites (a la Youtube),social networking,  RSS aggregators, etc. Very similar to what’s popular in theWestern world.Cyworld rules!But Chang reckons of all the bigco service offerings, the most impressive isdefinitely Cyworld. It provides the same social networking values as Myspace, but it didso 5 years before. Cyworld had been criticized as a “closed service” in the past, but nowthey are opening up. Chang has written about Cyworld’s new initiatives, which are littleknown outside of Korea, on his blog [ref 1 and2].  Enbee is a an end-to-end photo management servicethat’s similar to HP’s Snapfish.Tattertools is the leading blog tool ofKorea. They recently launched a hosted blogging service (like Typepad) called Tistory as well.Video sharing: Pandora TV (recently announced a$6M investment by Sillicon Valley investors), Beedeo.com (founded by the original founder ofCyworld, but hasn’t yet taken off in Korea)Revu by Opinity is an Identity 2.0 (online reputation)service.Thinkfree is a leading WebOffice service (has a US office) – n.b. I interviewed ThinkFree CEO TJ Kang for ZDNet (part 1 and part 2).Ohmynews.com is a well-known Citizenjournalism siteWingbus provides a travel booking servicealong with travel-related blogs, syndicated from various sources.Han RSS is the #1 RSS reader in Korea, in termsof market share and features.Cyworld openmarket is a “social commerce” site where people create blogs with shopping APIs (here is Chang’s post about it)Chang also said there are many online gaming services – “Korea is a hotbed ofonline games companies.” He thinks that online games (MMORPGs) might be the best examplethere of a) software as a service and b) online money-making business models. If there is a possible market opportunity, Chang thinks it’s a Facebook-like collegesocial networking site. But then, everyone uses Cyworld anyway!Finally, if you want to keep up with the Web industry in Korea – as well as subscribing to Chang’s blog, also check out my friend Taewoo Danny Kim’s blog and Channy Yun’s KoreaCrunch. They’re all in english and well worth tracking. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Some of the best features are:Mini hompy – buddy relationshipsencompassing a photo gallery, message board, guestbook, and personal bulletin board.The Paper – CyWorld’s blog and content syndication service.Cyworld Town – a minihompy-based service targeted for SOHOs and other e-commerceshops.lots of social networking features – e.g. Club, Mini Ring, TeamPlayIn terms of stats, Cyworld is totally dominant. According to Wikipedia:“…as much as 90 percent of South Koreans in their 20s[1]and 25 percent of the total population of South Korea[2] areregistered users of Cyworld, and as of September 2005, daily unique visitors are about 20million.”Cyworld also recently opened for business in the US – and promptly got a harshreview from Techcrunch’s Marshall Kirkpatrick. Chang commented over on his blog that he thinksCyworld US may not take off, but that the parent company has deep pockets and is puttingin a lot of effort for version 2 of the US product – codenamed C2. It does seem to methat Cyworld is a culturally unique product, which may prevent it from succeeding in theUS (and hence the UK, Aussie, etc) market.  But from what I understand ofit, Cyworld is extremely innovative and (unlike Marshall) I actually do think avatarswill have a big part to play in future social networks in the West. Marshall was verydismissive of avatars in his TC review. He said in a comment: “I can’t speak foranyone in South Korea, but I think these avatars are silly. I think the whole thing ismassively nuts.” Nice one Marshall.Korean StartupsKorea has a great list of startups and some of them are making a name for themselvesoverseas – e.g. OhMyNews and ThinkFree. 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