- So, did “cranky consumers” drive Yahoo from Korea (HT to Kuiwon)? Or did shitty service?

The blog author cited three factors that create unfavorable conditions for foreign businesses: cranky consumers, highly competitive market conditions, and Korea’s somewhat “ambiguous” appeal for foreign businesses compared with the huge Chinese market and other emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia.

The writer said Korean consumers need to be more willing to try out different services to have a more global perspective even though that might cause some inconvenience. Insufficient foreign competition will ultimately result in bigger dominance by Korean firms, which in turn will narrow the scope of options for consumers, the author warned.

Even if that were true, why would anyone—Korean or not—go with Yahoo (well, other than for this)? The only reason I still even have a Yahoo account is Flickr.

- Check out Robert Kelly’s “Korean Foreign Policy in Review 2012“:

Daniel Tudor, the Korean correspondent of the Economist (full disclosure: we are friends), just wrote a book on South Korea where he argues that Korea, despite all its success, is a discontented society. This is exactly right. (Here is a good review of the book.) Despite growing rapidly in just a generation, and capturing some global profile with things like ‘Gangnam Style’ or well-known products like Samsung gizmos, Koreans continue to have wildly unrealistic expectations of global interest in their small, linguistically unique (and difficult to learn) country culturally similar to enormous China. This generates constant geopolitical disappointment, per Tudor, and outsized sensitivities over foreign criticism – e.g., the widespread urban legend here that no Korean has yet won a Nobel Prize, because the committee is staffed by anti-Korean racists.

Four events in 2012 really seemed to capture the chip on the national shoulder, which ideally would serve to recommend a little modesty instead of yet more nationalistic grievance (but that won’t happen):

Be also sure to read Andrew Logie’s commentary in the post’s comment section.

- Hardly recognized golfer Pak Se-ri here. I’d always thought she was a good-looking woman, but give her a bit of makeup, some hair work and decent clothes, and she’s quite striking.