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February 26 2014

January 27 2014

South Korea to Develop 5G Network 1,000 Times Faster Than 4G

Buffering may be a thing of the past by 2020 in South Korea

The country's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced Wednesday that it would invest 1.6 trillion won ($1.5 billion) to develop 5G technology that will be 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE and quick enough to allow users to download full-length films (usually an 800-megabyte file) in one second.

MEST plans to roll out a trial 5G service by 2017 and have a commercial service available by 2020. In addition to developing the 5G network itself, MEST will prioritize developing new, key features for 5G, including Ultra-HD streaming, hologram transmission and upgraded social networking services. Read more...

More about Mobile, Technology, Tech, 4g, and South Korea

January 20 2014

Silicon Valley Notables Invest in Korea's Largest Bitcoin Exchange

South Korea has been one of Bitcoin's quieter markets in terms of media coverage, but that could change now that several prominent Silicon Valley investors have provided seed funding to Korbit, a Korean bitcoin startup.

According to beSUCCESS, the company will receive $400,000 from bigwigs including Tim Draper (formerly of DFJ and founder of startup school Draper University), Naval Ravikant (founder of AngelList), David Lee (founder of SV Angel), and Barry Silbert (founder of SecondMarket and Bitcoin advocate).

Given the comparatively small sum, the investment appears to be a case of "who" rather than "how much." Read more...

More about Silicon Valley, South Korea, Bitcoins, Business, and World
Almost 40% of South Korea Hit in Major Credit Card Hack

A lone hacker has leaked data from the credit cards of 20 million in South Korea, meaning the personal data of about 40% of the country's population has been compromised.

A contract IT worker for Korea Credit Bureau, the office that produces credit scores in that country, stole the data. That contractor has since been arrested, and the three CEOs of the affected credit card companies — KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card — have publicly apologized (see above)

Korea's national financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission, aid the credit card firms will cover any financial losses customers incurred because of the hack. Regulators have launched probes of the credit card companies' security measures Read more...

More about Security, World, Credit Cards, South Korea, and Business

December 24 2013

South Korea's Top Messaging App Expects $200 Million in Revenue This Year

In South Korea, there's no escaping KakaoTalk. The country has a smartphone penetration rate of 73%, according to research firm EMarketer, and of those people, 93% use the mobile messaging app Kakao, Nielsen said.

Kakao expects its app will generate about $200 million in revenue this year, according to the company's forecasts. That's compared with $42 million last year, with a profit of $6.5 million.

But with little room left to grow in its home country, Kakao is looking elsewhere. That's harder than it seems. Nearby Asian countries have already picked their favorite messaging appsLine is wildly popular in Japan, and Tencent's WeChat dominates China with more than 230 million users. Read more...

More about Messaging, South Korea, Business, and Apps Software

December 20 2013

North Korea Threatens South Korea — With a Fax

Bellicose rhetoric is a usual feature of life between North Korea and South Korea. When more modern means of communications are unavailable, threats are sent the old-fashioned way: using a fax machine

North Korea, ruled by the young dictator Kim Jong-un, sent a fax to South Korea on Thursday — the only military communications link between the two countries. It threatened to "strike mercilessly without notice" in response to anti-North Korea public protests in Seoul this week. North Korea’s National Defense Commission addressed to fax to the presidential office in South Korea

More about North Korea, South Korea, Us World, World, and Kim Jong Un

September 19 2013

5 Surprising Places Where Ecommerce Is Taking Off

What characterizes a market that's primed for ecommerce growth? It's not a country's population size, income per capita, nor even the amount its residents are spending on retail goods every year — though those all play a role. Rather, a complex variety of factors signal immediate to near-term ecommerce opportunity in a given region, a new study from Forrester Research shows.

Take South Korea for example, which ranked fourth on Forrester's list of countries positioned for ecommerce expansion. Compared to others on the list, it has a fairly average income per capita of $22,000. But its consumers are ready to spend: It ranked third on the number of debit/credit cards per capita, fourth in market activity and intensity (stock values relative to GDP), and has a tech-savvy population. Government support is another positive indicator: The country has been regulating the growth of discount megastores, banning for example free shuttle services to shoppers in remote areas, which opens the way for smaller ecommerce businesses. Read more...

More about China, Retail, Ecommerce, South Korea, and Business

September 16 2013

World's First Invisible Skyscraper Planned in South Korea

A new skyscraper will soon be a part of the skyline in Seoul, South Korea — but you may not be able to see it.

Architects behind the world's first invisible skyscraper were granted a permit to begin construction on the 1,476-foot building, dubbed Tower Infinity, according to a press release.

The building will use an LED facade and cameras on the back to project the surroundings behind the building onto its front. When turned on, the system will make the outlines of the tower indiscernible.

The projections can also broadcast special events or advertisements onto the building. Read more...

More about Building, South Korea, Architecture, Us World, and World

August 21 2013

Electric Car Folds in Half for Crowded City Streets

Engineers at the Graduate School for Green Transportation at KAIST in South Korea debuted a foldable electric car called the Armadillo-T. The two-seater car folds up after the driver and passenger leave the vehicle, making it a nice space-saver on Asia’s crowded city streets.

It doesn’t quite make sense to fold the car after parking it (especially if parallel parked). However, the vehicle is so tiny that you could just drive it straight into the curb with the front directly facing the sidewalk, and the car would still fit. It’s just 110 inches at full length. When folded, it’s only 65 inches long. In Southeast Asian countries, where most people travel via motorbike or small car, this makes even more sense. Read more...

More about Automobile, South Korea, Electric Cars, Electric Car, and World

August 12 2013

Worst Smartphone Event Ever? 20 Reportedly Injured in Fight Over LG G2

LG wanted some publicity for its G2 smartphone, which launched last week in the U.S. and South Korea. The company didn't, however, bank on the kind of publicity that involves bodily injury — but that's exactly what it got after an event in Seoul this weekend.

The idea behind the event seemed innocent enough. Around 100 colorful helium balloons were arranged into the form of the letter G and the numeral 2; attached to each balloon was a coupon that entitled the recipient to a free smartphone

Prompted by LG's efforts on social media, hundreds of Koreans gathered to catch the balloons, and many people came up with inventive ways to do so. For example, one guy brought a bug-catching net. However, not all methods were harmless. Multiple attendees were armed with BB guns to shoot down the balloons. One lady even carried a spear, as you can see on the report from Korean TV below Read more...

More about Korea, Lg, South Korea, Marketing, and Tech

June 19 2013

Zuckerberg Tours Samsung: Is a Facebook Phone Coming?

News of Mark Zuckerberg's trip to South Korea is resulting in widespread speculation that Facebook is working with Samsung, the world's largest smartphone-maker, to build a phone specifically tailored for the social network.

Facebook launched in April Home, a software tool geared to make the site's features easier to use and more integrated on mobile, and Samsung was one of the first companies to integrate that feature on devices such as the Galaxy S4. Reports from South Korean news outlets suggest that Zuckerberg's real objective is to ask Samsung to craft a more Facebook-friendly device. That move could in part be precipitated by disappointing sales of the HTC First, the Android-powered Facebook phone made by the Taiwanese company HTC (AT&T has since dropped the unit because of poor sales). But this mix, as well as Samsung's close ties to Google, could make a future partnership with Facebook a murky proposition. Read more...

More about Facebook, Android, Samsung, Lg, and South Korea

March 29 2013

Follow These 10 Twitter Accounts for North Korea News

Tension across the Korean peninsula is rising: bellicose rhetoric coming from the North has gotten increasingly menacing and South Korea, along with the United States, hasn't backed down

The American military conducted Thursday a test along with the South Korean army, flying B-2 stealth bombers and carrying out mock bombing exercises. The United States' drills were intended to show North Korea that they're ready to support South Korea in case of war. Friday, North Korea announced Kim Jong-un has ordered its missile units to be ready to strike.


More about World, North Korea, South Korea, Twitter, and Us World

September 08 2011

Google’s South Korea Office Raided

The Korean Fair Trade Commission raided Google‘s office in Seoul over concerns that the search engine giant was restricting access to its Android operating system, according to multiple reports.

The raid, which took place on Tuesday, concerned accusations by NHN and Daum Communications, two portal operators in South Korea, that Google was limiting their access to smartphones using Android. The two companies claim Google is preventing them from preloading their search portals on the smartphones, giving Google a competitive advantage.

Of course, Google’s major motivation to spread the Android OS is to provide more reach to its advertising platform. Google doesn’t make any licensing fees from Android.

Google’s South Korea office has been raided before. In August 2010, South Korean police raided the office over allegations that Google had illegally collected and stored personal data from wireless customers.

More About: android, Google, South Korea

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

April 15 2011

Google Faces Antitrust Complaint Over Mobile Search in South Korea

Two South Korean search engines have filed antitrust complaints against Google, claiming the company is abusing the dominance of its smartphone platform Android to stifle mobile search competitors.

Daum and NHN Corp together hold some 72% of the mobile search market, far more than Google’s 15%. But the two companies, which filed a complaint with the Korea Fair Trade Commission, claim that Google has partnered with smartphone producers and prohibited other companies from pre-installing search on their devices. And that’s why Google’s mobile search market share has been rapidly growing, the companies claim.

“Google’s market share in the local Internet search market only accounts for around 2%, but due to such an unfair act, its share in the mobile market is fast rising in Korea, and it stands at around 15%,” a NHN spokesman said.

Google has denied these allegations, claiming it’s not pressing device manufacturers to use its search engine. “Android is an open platform, and carrier partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones,” Google said in a statement.

However, according to NHN, Google is using indirect tactics to force device manufacturers to use its search engine. For example, NHN claims that Google has delayed certifying the use of its software for handset makers that refuse to use Google search, and Daum claims it has evidence of similar practices from Google.

Google’s Android dominates the South Korean smartphone market, with an estimated market share of 60% as of January 2011.

[via Bloomberg]

More About: android, Antitrust, Google, South Korea

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

January 10 2011

“Oldboy” Director Shoots New Horror Film on iPhone 4

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook — the director of 2003’s critically acclaimed Oldboy — says his new film was shot entirely on the iPhone.

The fantasy-horror film Paranmanjang, which means “life full of ups and downs” in Korean, is about half an hour long, and was made on a budget of 150 million won ($133,000). According to the Associated Press, Park says the iPhone’s small size and light weight, as well as the fact that “anyone can use it,” made it a good tool. His brother, Park Chan-kyong — also a director who collaborated on the film — says a wide variety of camera angles and edits were possible because a number of cameras could be used.

Park Chan-wook is one of the best-known filmmakers in South Korea, where his iPhone-directed film is set to hit theaters on January 27. In addition to helming the previously mentioned Oldboy, he also directed “Cut” in the horror collaboration Three… Extremes, as well as longer films like Lady Vengeance and Thirst.

Park is not the first South Korean filmmaker to shoot a project with the iPhone 4. As The Wall Street Journal points out, KT Corp. — the iPhone distributor in South Korea — sponsored a film festival, featuring 12 short movies made with the iPhone 4, last October. KT Corp. also helped with some of the production costs for Paranmanjang.

The practice of using phones to shoot videos — other than home movies uploaded to YouTube — seems to have become a bit of a trend in recent months. The iPhone 4 has been used to shoot music videos, while generally striking a chord with those who do not have access to big budgets. Meanwhile, the Nokia N8 was used to shoot The Commuter, a seven-and-a-half minute flick starring Dev Patel and Pamela Anderson. It will be interesting to see what effect such efforts will have on both mainstream and independent filmmaking in the future.

More About: iphone 4, iphone film, iphone video, Movies, park chan-kyong, South Korea

For more Entertainment coverage:

December 08 2010

South Korea: Facebook Doesn’t Comply With Our Privacy Laws

Facebook doesn’t comply with South Korean privacy laws because it doesn’t ask for users’ consent before getting their personal data, a South Korean regulator said Wednesday.

“Facebook violates the regulations on protection of privacy in information networks,” says Choi Seong Jin, a spokesman for the Korea Communications Commission.

Article 22 of South Korea’s “Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection” states that an information and communication service provider must obtain user content if it intends to gather users’ personal data.

Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which all Facebook users must agree with to use the service, as well as Facebook’s Privacy Policy, cover this topic in detail:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (…) you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”

Many users, however, don’t read the fine print; it’s possible that the KCC wants Facebook to explain this to users more clearly and explicitly before they sign up for the service.

Facebook has had its share of privacy-related troubles in the past; most recently, it caught some heat over the launch of its Open Graph.

The company has 30 days to respond to the complaint.

[via ComputerWorld]

Reviews: Facebook

More About: facebook, privacy, social media, social networking, South Korea

For more Social Media coverage:

August 20 2010

North Korea Joins Facebook

First YouTube, then Twitter and now Facebook — it seems North Korea is suddenly moving aggressively into social media.

North Korea has been in the news for its social media antics quite often lately — it joined Twitter under the handle @uriminzok just last week, an account that was blocked yesterday by South Korea’s state-run Communications Standards Commission.

According to South Korean National Security Law, tweets from that account contain “illegal information.” Said information basically amounts to Korean history, news items and links to videos found on the Uriminzokkiri YouTube page, as well as anti-Seoul and anti-U.S. statements from the Uriminzokkiri website. Now, the Twitter feed also features links to wall posts from its Facebook profile.

Oddly enough, North Korea has chosen to create a Facebook profile, rather than a Fan Page — which means that it has more control over who its “Friends” are. Currently, the Profile has 65 friends, and features links to videos from its YouTube account, photos of the landscape and statements from the North’s foreign ministry. According to Yahoo News, the “Write Something About Yourself” section of the profile reads: “A page that contains wishes of North Koreans, South Koreans and Koreans living abroad for unification, peace and prosperity.” Also — interestingly — the Profile is “Male” and is interested in “Men” for “Networking.”

South Korea has yet to block Facebook, which means curious parties can still read the messages that North Korea is putting out into the online world — and in greater detail, too, since Facebook allows more than 140 characters.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, colevineyard

Reviews: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iStockphoto

More About: facebook, North Korea, Political, social media, South Korea, twitter, youtube

For more Social Media coverage:

August 19 2010

North Korea’s Newly Launched Twitter Account Banned by South Korea

kim banned

North Korea’s Twitter account, which started just last week, has been banned by South Korea’s state-run Communications Standards Commission because its tweets contain “illegal information,” according to South Korean National Security Law.

The banning marks a new digital front for the two embattled countries. North Korea’s official account is called @Uriminzok, loosely translated to “Our people/nation,” according to the AP. The site has racked up nearly 9,000 followers despite only tweeting 36 times.

According to reports (and an admittedly rough online-translator), most if not all of the tweets heap praise on North Korea while disparaging both the U.S. and South Korea.

North Korea also launched an official YouTube channel a month prior to its Twitter account under the similar moniker, “Uriminzokkiri.” Like its Twitter account, most videos border on propaganda promoting the value and virtues of North Korea while calling South Korea warmongers.

South Korea responded today by blocking the Twitter account, adding to its list of 64 other blocked North Korean-run and pro-North Korean websites, Shim Joo-hyung, a spokesman for the South Korean standards commission told the AP. Typing in the North Korean account brings up a warning when you try to access the site from a South Korean IP address.

urimzok image

The North Korean jump to Twitter and YouTube marks a new and confusing step for the nation’s “digital media strategy.” North Korea blocks nearly all Internet access to its population of more than 24 million citizens, meaning all that propaganda isn’t meant for the home team.

North Korea’s Twitter and YouTube accounts aren’t available to its citizens; instead, they seem designed to win favor and hearts in South Korea and abroad. It’s a point not missed by U.S. politicians: “North Korean government has joined Twitter, but is it prepared to allow its citizens to be connected as well?” tweeted Philip Crowley, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

Given the circumstances, it’s understandable that South Korea would take action, but to what degree do “national security” concerns trump online censorship?

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has been banned by a country. China currently bans the site, Pakistan recently lifted its own, and Iran has threatened to ban following the public outrage after its presidential elections last year. It’s interesting that South Korea has not blocked the entire messaging site, but has instead targeted its ban solely on the North Korean account.

The South Korean commission has no immediate plans to block the North Korean YouTube channel.

Is South Korea justified in banning this propaganda or are they infringing on freedom of speech?

Reviews: Internet, Twitter, YouTube

More About: ban, banned, North Korea, South Korea, twitter, uriminzok, uriminzokkiri, youtube

For more Social Media coverage:

August 10 2010

South Korean Police Raid Google Offices Over Privacy Concerns

Google Korea’s offices were raided today by local police as part of an investigation into the Street View data collection debacle.

The New York Times reports that officials are concerned that the data collected by Street View vehicles dispatched in South Korea violates the country’s laws on communications and privacy.

A statement by the Cyber Terror Response Center of the Korean National Police Agency says, in part:

“We will investigate Google Korea officials and scrutinize the data we confiscated today. …

“We intend to find out what kinds of data they have collected and how much. We will try to retrieve all the original data illegally collected and stored through domestic Wi-Fi networks from the Google headquarters.”

South Korea is the latest country to launch an official investigation into data that Google collected via its Street View cameras. Australia, Germany and the U.S. have already begun inquiries into Google’s data collection from Wi-Fi networks. Australia has gone as far as to say that Google broke the country’s privacy laws when cars equipped with Street View cameras captured data packets and other information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Google acknowledged this blunder back in May, explaining that the data was collected because of a mistake in the original code.

Still, these apologies have done little to quell the ire of government officials and privacy groups. As a company that primarily deals with data collection, it is imperative that Google is seen by individuals and governments as trustworthy in how it collects and uses that information.

How comfortable are you with the ways Google collects and uses information? Do incidents like the one described above make you less comfortable with entrusting your own information?

More About: Google, google korea, privacy, South Korea, street view

For more Tech coverage:

April 13 2010

South Korea Proposes Curfew to Curb Online Gaming Addiction

Governments around the world are worried about the perils of gaming addiction — and with kids racking up FarmVille debt and Bulgarian politicians getting canned for playing too much, it’s no wonder. Recently a Korean couple was even arrested for starving their real life infant while diligently raising a virtual baby online.

Consequently, the South Korean government is considering a “gaming curfew” to curb the addictions of its online game-besotted youth, who make use of the country’s insanely robust broadband infrastructure to play a wide range of popular multiplayer titles. The Ministry of Culture has made specific suggestions, ranging from locking out school age players from Nexon’s Maple Story and Mabinogi between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. to slowing down a gamer’s connection after lengthy login periods.

Several game developers have already signed on to individual curfew plans with implementations beginning later this year. In all, 19 role playing games will end up adopting some sort of curfew scheme, affecting a large sector of the South Korean online games market.

What do you think: Are gaming curfews a good way to prevent kids from developing an unhealthy attachment to online games? Or will the resourceful youth simply set up unauthorized servers and find a way to route around the restrictions?

[via Engadget]

[img credit: JoopDorresteijn]

For more technology coverage, follow Mashable Tech on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Reviews: Facebook, Twitter

Tags: curfew, games, gaming addiction, Kids, online games, South Korea, video games, youth

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