Seven News Items From Korean Tech This Week
10월 6, 2014

1. Korea comes in 2nd place for the fastest internet speeds, 1st in other metrics

According to a recent report by Akamai Technologies, South Korea' average peak connection speed was 72.1 Mbps, lagging behind Hong Kong with 73.9 Mbps. Despite this result Korea remains top in the world for a number of other internet speed metrics including, highest average connection speed (24.6 Mbps). Hong Kong is the runner-up in this metric, at 8.9 Mbps. Global average connection speeds were 4.6Mbps, above 4Mbps for the first time.

Korea also scored the top results for the highest level of high broadband (over 10Mbps) and broadband (over 4Mbps) adoption. The nation posted year-on-year growth of 72 percent in high broadband adoption and 11 percent in broadband adoption. Korea also topped the 4K ready (over 15 Mbps) connection rankings with 62 percent, followed by Hong Kong (34 percent) and Japan (33 percent.) The global average was a mere 12%. For average mobile connection speed rankings (15.2 Mbps), Kore also came top.

2. Newly merged Daum Kakao responds to concerns about provacy by changing their data storage policies

Daum Kakao, the operator of South Korea's most-used mobile messenger application Kakao Talk has confirmed that it will shorten the duration that consumer data from their chat app will be stored. From October 2014 chat histories will only be saved for a maximum of two to three days. The company is hoping that this move will end persisting claims that chat histories on the messenger can be monitored by the government. This issue rose to the surface again recently as the government issued a statement saying that going forward they will have greater control to monitor online communication, including on chat apps like Kakao Talk. "In a bid to protect users' information, Daum Kakao will only save chat histories for two to three days starting this month," the company said. Daum Kakao currently saves chat histories on servers for around a week.

Earlier Kakao CEO Sirgoo Lee made a statement about the recent goernment legislation, which had concerned users: "We are aware of such concerns. (Kakao Talk) has top-tier security and technology, and (chat records) are saved in servers for only a short period of time. It cannot be leaked to someone else without being noticed."

3. Kakao Chariman strikes gold through merger with Daum, becomes most wealthy venture Head

 

Kim Beom-su, the founder of mobile messenger service Kakao Inc., and one of the founders of the countries largest web portal company, Naver, became the wealthiest IT entrepreneur by stock value after his company merged with No. 2 portal Daum Communications Co. Daum shares rallied on the KOSDAQ market after the two firms made their merger official five months after the announcement. The shares closed up 5.58% from the previous day compared to a 1.08% rise in the tech exchange. Shares of the merged entity will be traded under Daum's name until the shareholders approve the new company name on Oct. 31. Daum shares had been on a worrying long-term slide prior to the merger. The combined company now has a similar market capitalization to Naver, Korea's biggest web portal company.

4. Korea's Biggest Transport Payments provider, Korea Smart Card, heads Stateside

Korea Smart Card recently launched a mobile call taxi service, 'myTown Taxi',  in New York and New Jersey. To support the new enterprise the company has set up T-money America, its first overseas subsidiary. The service is a combination of the existing Town Taxi service and an application for directly connecting taxis with customers for greater convenience and promptness. It is different from Uber in that the application is mounted on taxis, not private vehicles. It is also legal. Additionally, lost items can be foundd immediately via direct communication with the base.

Korea Smart Card is planning to expand the service to all major U.S. cities. It added that an increasing number of Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Thailand are showing interest in myTown Taxi.

5. Samsung and UnionPay Launch NFC Payment solution in China

Samsung has launched a mobile payment service in China using NFC, in partnership with domestic credit card giant UnionPay which commands around 80% of the domestic credit card market. The partnership will help Samsung gain traction in the Chinese mobile payments market.

At this stage there are more than 3.6 million NFC-enabled devices that support UnionPay's mobile payment system and consumers are able to make payments by mobile phone at affiliated stores. If UnionPay secures a partnership with Korean credit card companies, Chinese consumers will also be able to make payments in Korea via NFC.

Members of China Unicom can use this service with not only the Galaxy Note 4, but also previous models like the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4.

6. China still Korea's biggest game consumer

According to the Beijing branch of the Korea International TradeAssociation China's game market grew to $13.55Bn in 2013, up 38% from the previous. Of this total China accounted for$1.02 billion, up 12.3 percent year on year. The importance of China for Korea's game developers has been on an upward trendsince 2008.

Online game sales in China accounted for 64.5% of  the total, another marked increase on a year earlier. The number of Chinese gamers has also seen rapid growth, hitting 495M in 2013, up from 67M in 2008.

In 2012 Korean imported games accounted for $2.64Bn. China accounted for$1.02 billion, up 12.3 percent year on year. The share of China in Korea's gameexports has been on an upward trend, rising to 38.6 percent in 2012 from 38.2percent in 2011, 37.1 percent in 2010, 34.9 percent in 2009 and 26.7 percent in2008.

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is big, thin, light... and strong

Samsung has released a video that hopes to demonstrate the durability of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (compared to the iPhone 6+). 'Bendgate' has been a great opportuniity for a wide range of companies to gain some marketing exposure. Even Heineken and KitKat have jumped on the 'bendwagon'.

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