[PANGYO ISSUE] Pangyo Technovalley Weekly News, News from the first week of August

Kakao Kim Beom-soo surpasses Lee Jae-yong and becomes the richest man in Korea

The news media outlet Bloomberg reported on July 29 (local time) that Kakao founder Kim Beom-soo (55) overcame Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to became the richest person in Korea.

According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Chairman Kim ranked first in Korea with a net worth of 13.4 billion dollars (about 15.4 trillion won), surpassing Vice Chairman Lee with a net worth of 12.1 billion dollars (about 13.9 trillion won).

Bloomberg noted that Chairman Kim is a self-made entrepreneur, and still knocked off Lee and other chaebol heads who have dominated the Korean economy for decades in the ranking of the richest.

Kim is well-known as a “dirt spoon” – which comes from a Korean word to designate someone born into a low income family. He has five siblings and parents who could only afford one room for the whole family.

Kakao had expanded its business beyond mobile messengers to payment, finance, games, and a taxi call service, and has significantly increased its share price last year from the explosive growth in demand for non-face-to-face services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kakao’s market capitalization is the fourth largest among companies listed on the Korean stock market.
Bloomberg analyzed that the massive increase of Chairman Kim’s asset this year is driven by the investors’ expectations for even more success by a series of IPOs of Kakao subsidiaries.

“It’s time to step back”… Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju resigns as CEO of NXC

Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju is stepping down from the position of CEO of Nexon’s holding company NXC after 16 years.

NXC announced on July 29 that it has appointed Lee Jae-gyo, Head of its Brand Promotion Division, as the new CEO, and Alex Iosilevich from USB, a multinational investment bank, as the Global Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

Although Kim resigned as CEO, he will keep the positions of internal director and registered director of NXC, and will participate in the company’s major decision-making and focus on developing future businesses and fostering talent.

He said, “I have served as the CEO of NXC for 16 years, and now I have decided that it is time to pass it on to the next person. The newly appointed Lee has a strong understanding of the history and DNA of Nexon Company. She is the best person to carry out various decision-making and management activities of NXC.”

After joining Nexon in 1998, Lee served as the PR Director and transferred to the holding company NXC in 2012. She has been leading the social contribution and communication fields ever since.

CIO Iosilevich served as an investment advisor for NXC and Nexon’s global business for over 10 years, and contributed to Nexon’s listing on Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2011.

The battle to take over the K-Webtoon… Kakao’s declaration of war on the global No. 1 Naver

Naver and Kakao are competing to take over the webtoon market. On August 1, Kakao launched Kakao Webtoon, an expanded and reorganized version of Daum Webtoon, and entered the global market in full force. Naver’s strategy is to solidify its No. 1 position in the global webtoon through a webtoon studio that invested 100 billion won in funds.

“I can’t distinguish this between a cartoon and animation!” This is the reaction of people who saw the Kakao Webtoon Premier Website that Kakao Entertainment first showcased on July 27. The characters in the Kakao Webtoons were show in a form that seemed to come alive.

Kakao Webtoon recommends user-customized content in various ways, such as related works, pictures, and keywords, through an artificial intelligence (AI) recommendation function. Just by moving the screen sideways, readers can see various contents lineups, and also browse works simply by scrolling.

Lee Jin-soo, CEO of Kakao Entertainment, said, “We are going to advance into countries around the world and all languages through Kakao Webtoon. Episodes being released for free after waiting changed the webtoon industry. Kakao Webtoon will be another industrial inflection point.”

Currently, Naver is leading the webtoon market in Korea. According to the “2020 Webtoon Business Status Survey” by the Korea Creative Content Agency, Naver’s webtoon pageview rate reached 65.1%. Naver’s share is three times higher than that of the two next runner ups, Kakao Page (15.6%) and Daum Webtoon (3.9%), combined. Naver Webtoon ranks first in the number of global users as well.

Pangyo Hub’s smooth sailing to aid in quality growth of startups

Pangyo Hub, a content business startup support center, is strengthening the network hub with prospective (new) entrepreneurs and many more startups. It is also playing a central role in facilitating startups by discovering killer contents by discovering unspotted creative manpower and establishing a system to support commercialization.

According to Gyeonggi Content Agency on July 28, Pangyo Hub fostered 969 startups, creating 2,485 jobs, supported 17,582 projects, and registered 171,020 users since its opening in 2014. Accordingly, it was reviewed to establish itself as the center of the startup ecosystem in Pangyo, where excellent young talents gather.

Pangyo Hub is supporting startups by focusing on increasing their sizes based on the startup ecosystem established in 2014.

The main support programs include ▲Youth Startup SMART 2030, a startup support system for young prospective entrepreneurs in the province between 15 and 39 years old, ▲Public-Private Cooperation Content Startup Fostering (or Gyeonggi START Pangyo), an accelerating program for discovering and fostering prospective unicorn companies in the content field, and ▲ICT Convergence Startup Support for Overseas Expansion to diversify startups to expand overseas. In addition, a cultural startup planner, a resident and collaboration space, and investment attraction are also available. There are also many growing startups that are worth noting. ▲MOVV, a platform that provides drivers and vehicles for business trips and travel, ▲Sensicon, a POS-based integrated store management platform, and ▲AssembleCircle, an AI-based orthodontic and orthognathic surgery online diagnosis and analysis solution service. Thesee are some of the success stories that were provided space, programming, and financial support from Pangyo Hub.

Pangyo Technovalley is an innovation hub for global companies comparable to the Silicon Valley in the US, Zhongguancun in China, and STATION F in France. It is an Asia tech hub with 1,259 IT, BT, CT, and NT companies that possess innovative products and technologies. Located just south of the metropolitan area, it provides the best environment for Korean companies to do business with great transportation access and infrastructure.

Various high-tech companies are located in Pangyo Technovalley, and it is occupied by 64,000 full-time employees, many in their 20-30s. In terms of industry, the companies are engaged in information technology, contents technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

With the support of innovative companies with global capabilities such as Kakao, Naver, AhnLab, Krafton, NCSoft, Nexon, and Hancom, companies in Pangyo Technovalley recorded 107 trillion won in sales last year. Investment and infrastructure growth in Pangyo is expected to continue, with the Metaverse hub entering Pangyo this year.

Source: Pangyo Techno Valley Official Newsroom

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