You know, I think Korea Times gets a bad rap here and in other blogs.  Sure there’s a lot of crap, but it’s a bit like the local Goodwill.  You have to really dig through a lot of throw aways, but occasionally you find some gems like articles by Michael Breen or Andrei Lankov that Korea Times has bothered to publish and make known.

Sometimes I also like Lee Chang-sup’s regular editorials.  His most recent editorial discusses Cyworld’s many weaknesses compared to America’s Facebook.

In 1999, four KAIST graduates launched Cyworld; the same year that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was a middle-school student preparing to enroll at Harvard University.


Much of… [Cyworld’s] failure is strategic, cultural, linguistic and educational.

Cyworld’s global marketing was a complete failure as it segmented each market for the United States, Japan, Germany, China, and Vietnam. For Facebook, the world is a single marketplace ― something the Korean firm is belatedly adopting in its global standard platform.


Cyworld looks like a Korean, while Facebook seems like an American. Facebook has a Western way of outward-oriented, aggressive and open thinking, but Cyworld is inward-looking, and family- and group-oriented.

There is no comparison between Cyworld and Facebook.  One is worth over $50 billion and the other is worth just a tiny fraction of that.  However, the comparison is made to illustrate what Korea, Inc. lacks in assets of a more creative and intangible nature.