***Korea Tech Round Up***
5월 3, 2014

WeMakePrice Tops Charts for Growth in 2013

Korea’s major social commerce operator WeMakePrice announced on February 17 that it came on top in terms of growth rate last year among mobile applications.

According to the “Mobile App Growth Rate Top 100 for 2013” which was surveyed by Ranky.com on the basis of the usage logs of 60,000 Android handset users, WeMakePrice marked a growth rate of 935.9 percent last year, ranking No. 1 among major applications.

Among other social commerce sites which were included in the top-100 list were Coupang (No. 17) and Ticket Monster (No. 31).

Lotte.com was positioned at No. 4, followed by GS Shop with No. 8 and CJMall with No. 11.Included in the top-50 ranks were eight bank-related applications. The number of mobile payment and authentication certificate-related applications also increased, indicating that the demand for mobile shopping is growing at an outstanding pace.

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- China's market size for the long term evolution (LTE) mobile network is poised to jump over five-fold in 2014 on-year, data showed Monday, giving South Korean tech players a rare opportunity in the increasingly saturated global market.

The number of LTE smartphones in China is estimated to reach 135 million units this year, up 547 percent from 2013, according to the data compiled by market researcher Strategy Analytics.


Samsung rolls out simpler 3G smartphone

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday it has rolled out a more basic version of its Galaxy smartphone, apparently targeting elderly users.

Samsung's Galaxy Core Advance, powered by Android's Jelly Bean, carries an "easy mode" system with simplified menus, larger images and three buttons on the lower part of the display, making it more comfortable for older users who are used to keypad-based 2G phones.


Science & ICT ministry to promote strategic industries, shared growth in 2014

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's science ministry said Monday it will nurture key strategic industries and establish cooperative ties between conglomerates and smaller firms to reap shared growth in those sectors.

In a policy plan briefing to President Park Geun-hye, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will increase support for 13 strategic industries such as the fifth-generation mobile network, subsea marine plants, and other cutting-edge devices like robots.


Daum Expects High Sales Volatility This Year

Daum Communication, the No. 2 Internet portal in Korea, announced that it expects high sales volatility this year due to uncertain economic conditions. The company said that it is difficult to present guidance on this year’s sales due to such high fluctuations in sales.

Daum Communication, however, revealed that it will make much investment in mobile areas. The company held a conference call for the presentation of its fourth quarter results on February 14.

During the conference call, a Daum official said, “It is difficult to predict this year’s sales guidance due to new business, including games.”

Daum noted that it plans to strengthen its investment in mobile areas. Accordingly, it would be difficult to show substantial improvement in operating profit this year. Daum plans to set this year’s marketing expenses at a level equivalent to 5-6 percent of last year’s sales.

Daum was upbeat that the game business would achieve the highest growth this year among the businesses comprising its sales portfolio.


Samsung Electronics’ smart wristwatch Galaxy Gear commanded more than a half of the global smartwatch market.

According to U.S. market research firm Canalys, Samsung Electronics achieved the highest market share of 54 percent in the global smart wearable bands market in the second half of last year.

Following Samsung Electronics were Sony with 19 percent and Pebble with 16 percent. Canalys did not disclose details on sales by each company but estimated the size of the global smart wearable bands market at 1.6 million units.

Calculating based on such figures, Samsung Electronics is estimated to have sold 860,000 units of Galaxy Gear in the second half of last year. The company revealed in November 2013 that the sales of Galaxy Gear exceeded the 800,000 level. Canalys expected the size of the global smart wristwatch market to expand up to 8 million units this year.


LG Electronics Strengthens Regionally Cohesive Approach

LG Electronics announced that it held in Istanbul the “LG InnoFest” for the Middle East and African region on February 12. The company plans to expand the event toward Europe in March and Asia in April.

InnoFest is a portmanteau created by combining two words—Innovation and Festival. The InnoFest is a regionally cohesive product presentation event aimed at strengthening partnership with major clients in each region.

Under the theme of “With LG, It’s All Possible,” LG Electronics made presentations on the products, technologies and business strategies tailored to meet the needs of the region in question.

The InnoFest centered on home electronics items such as washing machines and refrigerators last year but this year’s version dealt with a wider range of items, including TVs, audio and visual devices, and smartphones.

LG Electronics showed off the 77-inch Ultra HD Curved OLED TV, the 105-inch Curved Ultra HD TV, and the wearable “Lifeband Touch,” in addition to home electronics items such as refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners


Microsoft May Establish Data Center in Busan

Microsoft will build a large-scale data center in Korea. This is the first time for a global info-tech company to establish a data center in Korea. The most-likely location is Busan. As the news spread, domestic companies in the construction and IT industries began a behind-the-scenes bidding war to win orders from the world's largest software company.

According to construction industry sources on February 12, Microsoft held a business information session with domestic architecture offices and construction companies on the previous day in Seoul's downtown and made public its plan for the data center. The project will be led by CBRE Group, the world's largest commercial real estate services firm, with Microsoft China taking charge of the overall supervision.
The total size of the investment is estimated at 5 to 10 trillion won. An official of a Korean IT service company said, "The total investment cost would be in the range of 100 billion won excluding servers. Given other cloud data centers in Korea and Microsoft's existing data centers, the total cost will be in excess of several trillion won including servers."
The Redmond (Washington)-based company will use the data center as a cloud data center for the whole Asia-Pacific region. This is part of the company's wider strategy to build data centers in locations where electricity cost is low and take on rivals like Google and IBM in a coming "data center war." As of September last year, Google has invested a total of $21 billion in data centers. Not to be outdone, IBM will also make a $1.2-billion investment this year to build cloud computing centers.

LG and Samsung Rank No. 1 and 2 in Terms of LTE Standard Patents

LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics were each ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in terms of the global LTE standard patent competitiveness.

According to a survey of U.S. patent consulting firm Tech IPM over the potential candidates for standard patents among LTE
technologies registered in the United States Patents and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office, the patents applied by LG Electronics accounted for the largest 23 percent.

Samsung Electronics ranked No. 2 with 18 percent, indicating that Korea’s smartphone manufacturers are leading in the global competition for LTE standard patents.

Tech IPM didn’t reveal the details on each company’s patent figures. However, considering that Tech IPM analyzed a total of 288 patents, the number of LG Electronics’ patents is estimated at 66, while thatof Samsung Electronics at 52.

LG Electronics, in particular, ranked No. 1 in patent value terms analyzed by investment bank Jefferies & Co. in 2011.In 2012 and 2013, LG Electronics also ranked No. 1 worldwide in terms of the number of LTE and LTE A patents.


SK Hynix Emerges as the Biggest Cash Cow for SK Group

On February 14, SK Hynix will mark the second anniversary after joining SK Group.SK Hynix, whichhad agonized over how to survive over the past tenyears since it entered a workout program in 2001 due to more than 10 trillion won debts, is reborn as a profit-generating business in just two years after joining the group.

Its global rank also jumped to No. 4 from seventh. Inthe memory chip segment, SK Hynix now ranks No.2 right behind Samsung Electronics.

SK Hynix posted an operating profit of 3.38 trillion won last year, the highest in its history, emerging as the biggest cash cow for the SK Group, overtaking SK Telecom and SK Innovation.

In the second half of 2011, SK joined the race to acquire Hynix Semiconductor. There were many who expressed concerns about SK’s attempt to acquire Hynix, saying that the acquisition price tag was too high at more than 3.3 trillion won and the acquisition may not bring about much synergy.

Hynix had posted sales of 10.39 trillion won and operating profit of 369 billion won in 2011 before it remained independent from SK Group. After joining the group, Hynix achieved record-high performance last year, with its sales and operating profit growing 36 percent and 900 percent, respectively, compared to two years ago, defying negative predictions of naysayers.



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