SEOUL – Despite having trouble penetrating the market here, Google is committed to expanding its presence in South Korea, one of the world’s most-wired nations, the company’s chairman said Wednesday.
Naver controls 77 percent of Internet-related searches in South Korea, according to KoreanClick, a company that tracks surfers’ page views.
Yahoo, which was once the leading search engine in South Korea, now accounts for only 4.4 percent of the market, while Google, the worldwide leader, has a share of 2 percent.
“It’s obvious to me that Korea is a great laboratory of the digital age,” the chairman, Eric Schmidt, said in a speech at the Seoul Digital Forum, a three-day gathering of technology and media figures.
He cited a high level of household access to high-speed Internet connections as one reason the South will probably be a technological leader in the years ahead.
Schmidt recounted Google’s history in South Korea since 2004, highlighting its relationships with domestic companies as well as its decision last year to open a research center.
“The point here,” he said, “is that Google is in Korea because Korea is important, and our commitment and the scale we’re going to operate in is just beginning.”
Users in South Korea say the local sites are better adapted to factors specific to the market, with more visually complex sites and reliance on human interaction instead of software to get search results.
Schmidt said Google would be announcing a new interface for its site in South Korea.
On Tuesday, Schmidt met with executives at Daum Communications, South Korea’s No. 2 search engine, to discuss broadening their partnership, an official at Daum said.
Schmidt and the chief executive of Daum, Seok Jong Hoon, discussed cooperating in Internet search services and Daum’s user-created video content service, said Lee Seung Jin, a Daum official. No official deals were made, Lee added.
Daum ended its advertising relationship with Yahoo last year in favor of using Google for paid search results.
Fuente: International Herald Tribune