Business 2.0 has a story on how the country is benefiting from the investments in broadband. Here is an excerpt about CyWorld:
Cyworld is a license to print money. The service itself is free (and available on cellphones as well as online), but to buy all the extras – like ringtones and virtual furnishings – will cost you “acorns,” the service’s virtual currency. Cyworld sells its users $300,000 in acorns every single day.
With such a proven revenue stream, Cyworld is expanding fast. It launched in China and Japan last year, and a US launch is slated for later this year.
Some might dismiss it as a Korean novelty, but all of Cyworld’s elements, individually, have been successful on these shores. And teens and twentysomethings who use social networks tend not to have much brand loyalty to one service if another offers cooler features. SK Telecom’s ace in the hole is its experience with running a social network on mobile devices.
“Every social network is going to have to have a mobile component over the next year,” predicts Jill Aldort, an analyst at Yankee Group. “It gives more stickiness to the service. There’s going to be a social networking fatigue factor – users need novelty. And Cyworld clearly has more functionality than MySpace.”