Korea puts forth new ways to support new media startups

By Song Seung-hyun
  • Published : Feb 4, 2019 - 11:49
  • Updated : Feb 4, 2019 - 11:51

The Korean government is often referred to as an obstacle for startups here due to the heavy red tape. However, state-run Gyeonggi Content Agency is trying to buck that trend by supporting media startups that are trying to create new contents that can offer alternatives for newspapers, magazines and books.

Last week, GCA launched its fifth G-hub in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province. It has opened four such hubs over the past four years.

“In the fourth industrial revolution era, media contents are becoming more important than ever,” Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung said during its opening ceremony. 

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung making opening remarks at G-hub in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province (Gyeonggi Province)

The government has picked 10 startups that were established less than seven years ago to provide them with necessary facilities including small individual office spaces, coworking areas and chroma key green screen studios for six months. All startup, even ones that are not based in the province, can apply to move into G-hub.

“After six months, startups can extend their stay. Each firm can use our hub for a maximum of two years,” GCA official Lee Young-a told The Korea Herald. She added that the cost of using the hub for six months is just between 60,000 won (US$53.50) to 90,000 won.

A cheer for added support

Startup leaders welcomed the government measures for new support. They also emphasized the importance of forming networks and communities.

“We expect we can cooperate with other startups and the government,” Nam Taek-jin, CEO of virtual reality tech firm J Wonder, told The Korea Herald.

“We are currently in discussions with an education company and also the government to produce video contents using our virtual reality technology for after-school daycare programs. We hope to see more collaborations like this in the future.” 

Shared coworking space at G-hub in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province (Gyeonggi Content Agency)

Others said they felt G-hub fulfilled their demand for a workspace.

“People tend to think that a one-person media company operator, like me, does not need a business space. But we need space to conduct meetings and store production equipment,” said Hwang Hye-kyung, founder of new media startup Lime Talk Talk that creates contents related to tourist sights and restaurants.

“Usually, to get a space like this, I have to pay at least 500,000 won to 600,000 won per month, which is a big sum for me.”

Bringing in the big guns

However, as with all big plans, the government cannot work alone, and this time, it is partnering with internet giant Kakao that has been spreading all kinds of businesses, including media platforms and carpooling. According to the GCA, Kakao will be giving out handy tips to startups at G-hub to help them produce contents suitable for mobile platforms.

“We thought that even if we support startups, it might have some limitations since the government does not have its own new media platform. But now that we have Kakao as our partner, we believe things can be more efficient,” GCA official Min Soo-hyun said. “We think some of the startups can broadcast their contents through Kakao TV this year.”

The government also noted that startups not operating at G-hub will be given a chance to get mentoring from Kakao and other support programs called G-start, which recommends solutions depending on the level of the company’s development.

By Song Seung-hyun (