Sept. 20, 2006 SDF Korea

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On Wednesday September 20, at the Palo Alto offices of Accenture Technology Labs, SDForum’s Mobile SIG and the Korean Consulate hosted an event to increase awareness and investment in a delegation of Korean companies. The Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) and Samsung Securities sponsored the event.

Mobile IP SIG co-chairs Joe Jasin and Yong Tian introduced San Francisco’s Korean Consul General Mr. Sang- K i Chung who welcomed venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and engineers interested in learning about investment opportunities with several up and coming Korean companies.

Henry Chon, CEO of Cyworld USA gave the keynote speech. Contrary to what you may think, the ‘Cy’ in Cyworld is Korean for ‘relationship’ not cybernetics. Cyworld provides a space to create content. Customers can duplicate or expand the relationships that customers already have. Everything that can be done online at home can be done on a cell phone, from messages to video to music. In Korea, they sell some 20 million customers 130 million songs, second only to Apple’s iTunes. While the basic service is free, customers can buy digital images and backgrounds to decorate their space. Cyworld makes over 100 million dollars per year on this service alone.

They intend to target the youth market in the U.S. To reach that market, they spent nine months studying and reworking their service rather than just offering the original Korean version. Since starting operations in the U.S. last August, they have signed up over 100,000 customers just by word of mouth.

Chris J. Kim, Director of the IT Complex for KIPA , explained the importance of foreign investment in the Korean IT industry. Korea has an extraordinary high-speed IT infrastructure and experienced professionals to develop and deliver new products. The Korean market has lots of eager early adopters of emerging technology.

Kyugon Cho, CEO of Fasoo.com, focused on digital rights management (DRM) . Building on its success in Korea, they intend to make their DRM products available to U.S. companies facing intellectual property issues around the world.

Eric Bae, CEO of GameUs, is best known for creating online 3D shooting games like Skyraiders and SupaSupa on Korea’s premier game portal site Netmarble. They specialize in Player-to-Player (P2P) technology. The popularity of the games has spread from Korea to the Philippines and the U.S., with plans for expansion into Japan and China.

Jae Cheol Oh, CEO of I-On Communications, focuses on three types of content management : Content Management Systems (CMS) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and now Mobile Content Management (MCM). Essentially these systems manage content for IPTV, Mobile TV, and Digital TV. Already a major player in the Korean and Japanese wireless broadband (Wi-Bro) markets, they intend to expand into Singapore, Australia and China.

Daniel E.J. Koo, VP and CSO of Phantagram, talked about his company’s success with game development, publishing and distribution. Known for games like Kingdom Under Fire and Ninety-Nine Nights (produced with Microsoft), they intend to pursue growth in mobile, PC, and console versions of current and new titles.

Dong Gui Lee, CEO of Telme Information and Telecommunication, said they are a major mobile content service provider taking advantage of Korea’s high-speed networks. Known for providing ringtones, they intend to be a total entertainment content service company. Their new Pullshot service lets customers edit, publish, and distribute their own multimedia. This User Created Content (UCC) is low cost and has few ownership issues, promising more growth in the future.

Kris Yeunwook Choi, CEO of Valuespace, the biggest Internet Café franchise business in Korea, focuses on games and digital culture. They intend to develop Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) services by networking 10,000 I-Cafes nationwide from it’s current number of 300.

Yang Shin Kim, CEO of JCEntertainment, is a leading online game developer and publisher that mixes community sites and avatar systems into a unique virtual reality experience. Creators of War Bible and Redmoon, their latest release is FreeStyle, which is a hit in Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan and the Phillipines and will soon be in the U.S.

Each of these established Korean companies is ready to take on the world.

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline All rights reserved.