Yahoo withdraws from South Korea

Yahoo withdraws from South Korea

Yahoo withdraws from South Korea

After 15 years of presence within the country, Search Engine giant Yahoo officially withdrew from South Korea on December 31st last year.

A notification of the site's shutdown greeted users as they logged on to the page. This was a significant move as it is the first time the search engine giant has had to withdraw from an Asian country.

The move is a result of Yahoo! CEO and President, Marissa Mayer's, shift away from conventional SEO and search, in an initiative to push forward with mobile offerings – which she believes is more capable to help capitalise on the firm's existing strengths.

Mayer stated that the decision to withdraw from Korea was part of the firm's efforts to, "streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that's set up for long-term growth and success."

It became difficult for Yahoo to compete against rival firms such as NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp., with those companies responsible for two of Korea's most visited websites – and Actually, Yahoo had been struggling prior to the announcement of its withdrawal from the country, seeing its share of the search engine market in South Korea drop to just 1%.

Approximately 200 employees worked at the South Korean unit, mostly on editorial content and advertisement.

Other brands such as HTC and Motorola have also struggled in South Korea while facing competition from the country's own LG and Samsung brands.

Despite the firm's struggle in South Korea, Yahoo! still has around 700 million users around the globe visiting its website each month. Likewise, the search engine still ranks top globally as an Internet destination.

South Korea’s Smartphone Film Fest

South Korea’s Smartphone Film Fest

South Korea's Smartphone Film Fest Accepting Submissions

South Korea's Olleh Smartphone Film Festival –designed for shorts made on mobile devices- is now accepting submissions from overseas for its newly added international section.

The Olleh Festival has added this new international section this year to become more competitive at a global scale. The festival – named after "Olleh", the brand slogan of KT Corporation, which is South Korea's first carrier of iPhones - has also introduced a section for children.

To be able to participate, shorts must be shot with a smartphone and the duration cannot surpass 10 minutes, regardless of genre. Videos must be submitted between February 1st and 28th through the official website ( The prizes comprise cash gifts that amount to 50 million won (US$46,910) and new smartphones.

The festival director Lee Jun-ik –known for box office hits such as King and the Clown- asserted that smartphones have "democratized cinema."

"It's amazing. Anyone, even a three-year-old kid, can make a video using a smartphone," Lee said.

This is particularly significant in Korea, where more than 60% of mobile phones in use are smartphones.

The film festival was launched three years ago after the iconic filmmaker Park Chan-wook created a short, Night Fishing, on an iPhone 4. The film won a Berlin Golden Bear.

Lee said the festival aims to encourage work from aspiring filmmakers and amateurs who have no access more expensive production equipment. Some candidates will make use of smartphone's video apps while others will choose to use PC tools. Participants can also make full use of equipment such as tripods or handgrips for phones and attachable camera lenses.

However, the director emphasized that regardless of the techniques employed, the essence of cinema –good storytelling- remains the same.

"We get all sorts of submissions. One time we even got a 3D movie that a candidate made using two phones. While it was creative we are looking for compelling stories and good storytelling," he said. "Our winning films last year were so good that they were invited to the Shanghai International Film Festival."

The third Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival will open in Seoul on April 17.

Japan and South Korea Top Tweets

Japan and South Korea Top Tweets

Japan and South Korea Top Tweets Per Second For New Year

As individuals report their daily activities on real time through social media, the networking service Twitter monitored a greeting-stimulating event at a global scale such as New Year's Eve. As clocks struck midnight in different time zones across the planet, Twitter compiled the results in an explicit infographic that shows the top five tweet sources.

Tokyo –Japan- and Seoul –South Korea- scored the highest Tweets per second rating during the braking of the 2013 New Year, representing the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) +9 time zone. The countries reached a total of 33,388 tweets per second. These areas were followed by New York –USA- and Bogotá –Colombia- (UTC -5), tweeting 13,336 tweets per second.

At third place is another Asian time zone, Bangkok and Jakarta for UTC +7 with 11,675 tweets per second. In fourth place is UTC itself, with London and Lisbon reaching 9,455 message. The last sport in the top five is held by the last time zone, Los Angeles and Vancouver at UTC -8 with 7,137 New Year greetings.

The data gathered by Twitter verifies the result of a report carried out by French research group Semiocast in June 2012. The study listed the top countries and top cities based on the number of Twitter accounts. U.S. is at the top while the runner-up are Japan in the third place, U.K. at fourth, Indonesia at fifth place. As to the cities, Jakarta takes the top spot followed by Tokyo at second.

Japan is particularly significant as it set a record for the number of tweets per second on December 2011 during the 13th airing of Studio Ghibli's Castle in the Sky animated movie. Twitters users in Japan tweeted 11,349 tweets per second during the scene in which main characters Pazy and Sheeta say the spell word "balse" at the climax of the film.

Mass dating event in Seoul called by Facebook

Mass dating event in Seoul called by Facebook

Mass dating event in Seoul called by Facebook

Female, Male, Twenty-something, Thirty-something… they come in all shapes and sizes to flood the streets of Seoul to meet their soul mate. It wasn't Valentine's Day, and neither Aphrodite's mischiefs nor Cupid's arrows had anything to do with it. Instead, this South Korean mass dating event is another proof of social media's power to draw the masses in search for romance.

Namely, South Korea's "battle of singles" was organised on Facebook when two young men humorously toyed with the idea on the social networking site and ended up prompting more than 36,000 users to sign up online.

Subsequently, about 3,500 people –mainly men in their 20s or 30s- showed up in Seoul's Yeouido park to take part in the event on Christmas eve. For the hopeless romantics' dismay, many of the women who did turn up brought their male partners and only attended to watch the event.

"Apparently most of the participants were young men… many left fairly quickly as the place was increasingly filled with guys," a police officer in Seoul told AFP.

Women had been asked to dress in red and men in white when they gathered at the park in Seoul's Yeouido financial district. There, the two groups were asked to face each other a few metres apart until the event started at 3pm, then walk towards a potential date and grab his or her hands.

However, the strategy failed after it became apparent the two groups were too uneven and there were not nearly enough women to match with male participants.

"Where the hell are the girls? I can't find any," said Kim Sung-Sik, a 23-year-old college student, describing the event as "utterly disappointing".

"This is awful… I didn't come all this way to get stuck in a bunch of smelly guys," said another male participant.

"I looks like there are more doves flying around here than there are girls…I feel like I'm in the army again," he said, referring to the two years of military service mandatory for all South Korean men.