Korean IT companies, which have operated locally like a big frog in a small pond, are now heightening their positions in the global mobile market. KaKaoTalk and Line, the leading mobile messengers in the nation, have grown in stature, emerging as competitors to Facebook and Twitter.
According to an official in the IT industry on August 5, Naver is most aggressive among Korean mobile businesses to push into the global market. Naver, separated from Hangame on August 1, changed its company name from NHN to Naver, gearing up for overseas expansion once again.
As Korea’s dominant portal, it has already tasted the bitterness of losses in overseas markets. Starting from the establishment of Hangame Japan and Naver Japan in 2000, it acquired the Chinese online gaming portal OURGAME in 2004 and founded NHN USA in July 2005, aiming at the US, Chinese, and Japanese markets based on its power to control the domestic market.
But the number-one web portal in Korea encountered bad results, including the shutdown of its gaming businesses in China in April 2010 and the disposal of NHA USA in December 2011. Afterwards, it was called "a Tiger at home and a Paper Tiger abroad" due to its failure to create a global business model.
But mobile messaging platform Line changed the landscape. Lagging behind KaKaoTalk in Korea, it hit the jackpot by acquiring 200 million users globally, in over 200 nations. Its establishment as a mobile messenger service provider gave a green light to Korean gaming companies' expansion into foreign markets. Around 20 games they developed are now available worldwide through Line.
Meanwhile, KaKaoTalk, which is accelerating the execution of its global strategy targeting Indonesia and Vietnam, passed 100 million global users in July.
Regarding these achievements, foreign press media depicted both Line and KaKaoTalk as emerging powers threatening the dominance of global social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter.
Lately, the efforts for local mobile application program developers to extend overseas business has gained momentum. They are eyeing emerging markets such as India, Norway, and the Netherlands, to say nothing of Japan and the US.
AppDisco, developer of Korea's number one reward-based mobile advertising application AdLatte, is focusing on market expansion in foreign countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and Australia. AdLatte was ranked second most popular in the App Store in July only two weeks after it was launched in Vietnam.
The application Flava2.0, where pictures, videos, and recordings can be stored under different themes like childcare, travel, and famous restaurants, is getting attention in India. Meanwhile, PlanB, which was released in October 2012, is also successful in the Dutch market.
Magic Hour, a camera app used to decorate pictures and adjust light and shade, brightness and hues, has been ranked top in the App Store in Norway.