Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Korean Media Culture News signing out

An epilogue. The research project on Korean media culture (2006-2009) funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is coming to an end, and thus I will be wrapping up the blog with a final Spring News summary - at least for now. To keep up with the interesting stuff going on in Korean media and new media in the future, visit the blogs such as Korea's Information Society, Web 2.0 Asia, Korea IT Times, Seoul Digital City and Futurize Korea. If you are interested in my future research, please visit my research blog. For my Korean media and new media related research papers, check out my Academia site.


Jim Larson's Korea's Information Society (April 8) compares the boradband policies of the US and Korea. Jim also discusses (April 9) how YouTube in Korea is rejecting real name system for users. As Jim notes: "Korea is the only country in the world where Internet users are required to input their name and resident registration number before subscribing to portals and other Internet services."

Read also Jim's analysis (April 20) of government-Google relations in a follow-up titled South Korea's Differences with Google and Futurize Korea's Google snubs Korean goverment Internet regulation demands and Google Korea responds to real-name identification debate.

Jim has also posted about the ever-fascinating subject of robotics and how Korea Aims for Top Three Nations in Robotics. Also, take a look at the post about "StickyBot", a little robot that can climb smooth surfaces (see also the developer's website).

The so-called Minerva case has also been discussed in the blog. As Jim explains, Minerva was

"the online alias used by Park Dae-sung who attracted a cult-like following over a period of several months last year with his postings about the economy on one of Korea's popular web portals. Minerva quickly became famous based on predictions like the fall of Lehman Brothers and the collapse of the Korean won. When Mr. Park was arrested last January, it turned out that he was 31 and jobless, had attended a two-year college and had never even invested in the stock market. One of his crimes, according to prosecutors, was to state that the Korean government had barred banks and major companies from buying American dollars in a desperate attempt to check the fall of the won. [...] As Choe, Sang Hun correctly notes, the case of Minerva highlights the contrast between Korea's offline Confucian culture in which seniority and heirarchy rule, and the anonymity of cyberspace which allows people to flout decorum." [Read the whole post.]

Jim also writes about Korean "Green IT" (see here and here).

The rapidly growing online tutoring service called is discussed here.

Kim Chang-Won of Web 2.0 Asia has produced a lot of interesting blog-post this spring too (see also his new personal website). For instance, Chang-Won writes about the popularity of Korean online gaming. It so huge that for example an online game company is sponsoring an offline baseball team. Read more about it here. For contrast, read another post about a downsizing Korean online games company.

See also Chang-Won's post on SK Telecom's (rumored) project to fight iPhone and Android and an insightful analysis including the Minerva case and the real name system in the post titled Does the concept of country matter any more in the internet era? Related to Korea's tight Internet user control, Chang-Won has also written about the "cyber exiles" fleeing to foreign internet services.

Chang-Won writes how Korean kids nowadays have a government imposed cerfew of 10PM on all cram school studies (the private tutoring schools used to go on until 11 PM!):

"But that doesn't make the Korean society less competitive all of a sudden. Korean kids still have to make it to good colleges and get a decent job after graduation to even barely survive in this hyper-competitive society. That means they have to study the hell out of themselves, and even if Hakwon now finishes at 10PM instead of 11PM, students have to resume their study after they hit home. Hence the boost of e-learning companies' stock prices; For example, Digital Daesung, a Korean e-learning company, saw its stock price surge by about 25% after the government announcement. They say Korea is a dynamic country. Sometimes the country can be too dynamic. Koreans need some rest (myself included, perhaps), and highschool kids are no exception." [Read the whole thing.]

Other interesting posts from Web 2.0 Asia:
- Wetoku, an online interviewing service.
- "Boys over Flowers" or a success story of monetizing online videos.
- Cyworld to embrace Open Social
- Playstreet lets you walk through Seoul's hotspots
- Korean internet portals join the mourning as the former president dies
- Top Korean sports celebrity to join Twitter
- ViiKii is Youtube for international videos

Futurize Korea writes about SK Telecom Tum Experience Center, a new exhibition space "similar to the exhibits in the Nuritkum Square Digital Pavilion which presents different technologies based around different themes: Play Dream, Play Now and Play Basic."

Other interesting issues from Futurize Korea:
- Synovate research: Korean youth "media junkies": Korean kids are the junkiest of Asia
- Cisco plans Korean research center, ubiquitous city network: ubiquitous is everywhere in Korea
- Korea government passes new copyright infringement bill: the three-strikes law similar to that of France
- Korean police respond to Internet suicide sites: the global phenomenon among youth
- Gangnam Media Pole: a step towards the u-city
- Korean government launches Internet addiction hotline: a website for internet addicts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March News medley

Jim Larson's Korea's Information Society blog discusses the following interesting issues, among others:

As for Web 2.0 Asia, fascinating stuff as always:

Hanna & Annthony at Seoul Digital City:

Futurize Korea's new media news:

Friday, February 20, 2009

On mobile phone usage in Korea

Futurize Korea presents an interesting report by JoongAng Ilbo on the saturation of the mobile phone market. The blog also mentions two other valuable sources: 1) a study on how teenagers in five countries (incl. Korea) used mobile communication and 2) SK Telecom's customer statistics. Read the blog post here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yvette Wohn to discuss the Korean news & social site

From Yvette:

In 2001, three seniors at Ewha Women’s University launched a social networking site for students of their school. (Ewha is one of Korea’s top universities and the largest women’s univ. in the world) With campus media subsidized and screened, this online portal took off not only as a networking site but also as an independent news and information portal. With 50,000 active user accounts (mostly current students) and an average of 8,000 concurrent users, the site is a forum for synchronous and asynchronous communication. [Read more.]

[Via Berkman Blog - thanks for the hint, Turo.]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Samsung Electronics and Massive Shakeup

According to Digital Chosunilbo the global downtrend of economy is affecting Samsung Electronics too and the company is tackling the problem with a heavy hand.

"Samsung Electronics has conducted the biggest personnel shakeup in its history, transferring 85 percent of staff at headquarters to plants and replacing 70 percent of executives. The electronics giant on Wednesday said the move came to overcome the economic crisis by transferring large portions of headquarters' functions and organization to plants and research and development divisions.

Samsung Electronics streamlined its current six divisions into two -- the device solutions division and the digital media & communications division -- while deciding to abolish two support divisions, the business support division and the technology management division. As a result, 1,200 out of 1,400 staff at these support divisions in Seocho-dong, Seoul will move to plants and R&D centers.

An executive said the only exception to the principle 'is our decision to enhance the function of the audit team to prevent and manage the crisis, promoting the head of the team to a chief executive position.' Samsung also said it restructured business-related divisions and regional offices, while appointing executives with proven credentials and capabilities to lead them. In the process, nearly 70 percent of Samsung Electronics executives were given new assignments, and their average age dropped from 49 to 48.

Samsung said executives decided to cut their benefits and salaries by about 20 percent to overcome the crisis."

[Italics mine, perhaps execs. in Europe could do the same...]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Korea #6 in Broadband Penetration

Chosun Ilbo (orig. Arirang News) reported on a International Telecommunication Union survey listing world's leading countries in terms of high broadband penetration rates.

"Korea ranks sixth with roughly 31 percent of the population subscribing to high broadband Internet. This is according to the group's 2007 analyses of broadband subscription rates in 30 industrialized countries. Denmark topped the list at 36 percent, followed by Iceland, the Netherlands, Finland, and Switzerland."

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Ubiquitous Life in Korea too Early to Tell" - Korea IT Times

Read Matthew Wigand's analysis of the status quo of u-Korea (January 16, 2009).

News and blogs around the turn of the year

Korea's Information Society has posted about WiBro (Wireless Broadband) export prospects/user-experiences and reputation (esp. Korea Times' pessimistic article) as well as Jim Larson's ongoing book project on Korea's information society.

IT Times (see the new and renewed website!) Korea discusses the concept of ubiquitous, the buzzword of Korea information technology. The title of another interesting article says it all: "Digital Wonderland Needs an Enhanced Image."

Futurize Korea has posted two news roundups, one on Korean portals and the other on Korean video games.