The Korea Herald


Naver to become tech platform for small businesses, creators

By Sohn Ji-young

Published : Nov. 22, 2016 - 16:23

    • Link copied

The newly appointed CEO of South Korea’s leading portal operator Naver pledged to make Naver a tech-savvy platform that helps small businesses and local creators grow and flourish, at a conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

Han Seong-sook, the executive vice president of Naver’s services division, is slated to become the company’s first female chief executive, as the successor to CEO Kim Sang-hun, who recently resigned from his post at the year’s end.

Han reaffirmed Naver’s dedication to its ongoing “Project Flower” — the company’s long-term project to provide meaningful platform services that small enterprises and creators can utilize to maximum benefits and reap success.

Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun (left) and executive vice president of Naver`s services division Han Seong-sook take part in the Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun (left) and executive vice president of Naver`s services division Han Seong-sook take part in the "Naver Connect 2017" conference held in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

“We would like to help creators easily form and sustain new businesses, as well as venture out to global markets,” Han said during the annual “Naver Connect 2017” conference.

One of Naver’s foremost goals is to transform itself into a “technology platform” -- providing cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3-D mapping and autonomous driving via Naver’s services for easy use by third-party actors, Han said.

“Our job is to merge these advanced technologies with Naver’s main services, and translate them to user-friendly tools that creators, small businesses and users can take advantage of,” said Naver’s prospective CEO.

For instance, the Korean internet giant aims to broaden the applications of its high-tech services such as AI-based translation app Papago, AI “chatbot” software AMICA and TalkTalk, a mobile chatting service that connects online vendors with customers, Han said.

Naver is currently exploring multiple ways in which it can achieve such integration in partership with related stakeholders, the Naver executive added.

“From the progress seen via ‘Project Flower,’ we are confident that Naver’s has reaped meaningful benefits from its efforts to provide improved platform services to small businesses and creators,” Han said.

Looking ahead, Naver pledged to invest more than 500 billion won ($425 million) toward the local contents and technology sector over the next five years. Of this, 100 billion won will be set aside for supporting the formation of new businesses and their launch into global markets.

Stepping down from his CEO post, Kim Sang-hun further lent credence to his successor’s vision by noting that Naver’s future direction is rooted in two keywords -- “technology” and “globalization.”

“Naver plans to continue improving its cutting-edge technologies and exclusive services so they can be merged with global services. In doing so, we hope local businesses will also be able to easily reach global markets through our services,” Kim said.

By Sohn Ji-young (