Naver, No.1 portal/search/blog/community/email/news-aggregation service in Korea, held a press conference yesterday to shoot out some interesting and fantastic stories. (probably not as exciting as TechCrunch being bought by AOL, though. Congrats, Mike!)
The first news was that Naver is integrating all of its social services (cafes – communities/forums; blogs; and me2day – facebook) into what’s called “Naver Me.” It’s practically the Web version of Apple’s MobileMe; it’s about YOU, the winner of Time’s the person of the year 2006 as long as you stay within Naver’s “social” services.
As I’ll cover later, with Cyworld practically looking for resuscitation, Facebook and Twitter have emerged as rockstars in Korea, to everyone’s surprise (though it didn’t surprise me at all) Me2day is Naver’s own foster child in the same category and Naver wants to use it to strengthen its “social-ness.”
Now, Naver is adding into the mix a communication suite with its launching of Naver Talk; an integrated messenger which works across Web-PC-Mobile, which will be directly competing against NateOn, the leader in the messenger market. Another exciting announcement, as NateOn’s service quality has going south for some time now just like its sibling Cyworld.
Assuming Naver Me and Naver Talk flourish, here’s what Naver will have under its umbrella: search like (no.1 by far), content (no.1 by far with music, movies, news, blog, cartoons, communities, QnA, etc), social (a very good chance to become no.1 with me2day’s users nearly equaling Twitter and Facebook’s users combined), and IM. To put it another way, Naver will become Korea’s Google + Apple + Facebook + AOL. Pretty scary, isn’t it?
What’s even scarier is this: I can’t think of anyone who can stop Naver from actually becoming all that. Search combined with content, social, news, email, and messenger? Wow. That’ll be quite potent.
Many have begun comparing Naver to the previous generation’s chaebols: Samsung, LG, Hyundai and SK–all of its components tightly integrated, practically wall-gardened, but very well made. Even in this digital generation, maybe it implies something immutable about the core strength and character of Korea: one-ness as the competitive advantage. Not putting what’s right or wrong; just a simple observation. What do you guys think?